By: Blake Edgington, Movie Critic
Director: Stephen Gaghan
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll, Toby Kebbell, Bruce Greenwood, Stacy Keach
Review: 2 bags
In this latest blockbuster release, Gold, Matthew McConaughey goes bigger, much less attractive, and balder. Gold has all of the elements that should work or have worked in other films, but don’t necessarily add up here. It’s a story of luck and hubris; the legendary tale about striking it rich and immediately letting it get go to your head. We all know how those stories end up don’t we?
McConaughey plays Kenny Wells, a struggling prospector who makes a lucrative deal for a gold deposit hidden in the jungles of Indonesia. Sporting a terrible haircut, bad teeth and an overall greasy exterior, Wells is frequently wearing only tighty-whiteys and holding a glass of booze. McConaughey goes all-in for the role; maybe too much. His mannerisms and quirks seem to be a bit overdone, which unfortunately come off as big, loud overacting.
Best described as a hustler who is always on the prowl to make a deal, Wells works out of a dive bar his girlfriend Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard) works in as a waitress. After several “big deals” fall through, Wells partners up with Michael Acosta (Édgar Ramírez), a geologist who has a hunch about finding gold deep in the jungles of Indonesia. Based on the Bre-X scandal of the mid-1990s, Gold focuses on the madness that ensued concerning the supposed gold mine and the money that changed hands around it.
Director Stephen Gaghan decided to set the story in the 1980s, rather than the 90’s, and also moves Wells’ home base from Canada to Reno, Nevada. It makes for nice visual candy with all the lights and sounds of the 80’s, but really doesn’t do much to balance the story, which is hovering between a drama and an action film that never quite lives up to the real life tale that inspired it. Included in Gaghan’s version of Well’s character is a scene with a live tiger reminiscent of The Hangover and it feels awkward to say the least.
McConaughey, who is now past his mid-career resurgence and making Lincoln car commercials, on the side, is capable of delivering Oscar-winning performances like his role in Dallas Buyer’s Club. He is in awards mode here in Gold, but unfortunately the rest of the movie around him is not. Essentially, his look is quite similar to Christian Bale’s character in American Hustle. Fun Fact: Christian Bale was originally considered for the role of Wells.
As you can see, I haven’t elaborated on any of the other characters in the film. This is because McConaughey is a one-man show. And not the kind of show you want to be tuning into. A better title for the film would be Fool’s Gold, but then again McConaughey already made that movie. Gold comes close to striking it rich, but it doesn’t have the right tools. McConaughey does everything he can to make it shine, but what should have been gold ended up as bronze.