With the sudden death of his father, fourth-generation prospector Kenny Wells sees the family business, Washoe Mining, rapidly decline and him out of business. But ambitious Kenny has a dream, a vivid vision that promises mountains of brilliant and pure gold in the lush jungles of remote Indonesia; an aspiration which the well-known, yet still unlucky geologist Michael Acosta shares. Before long, down-on-his-luck Kenny will convince the eager geologist to become his partner and set off on an adventure deep into uncharted territory, while in the meantime, he would hunt for investors. Unfortunately though, as the risky expedition begins without a single speck of gold or the promise of it on the horizon, disease and failure will begin to threaten the short-lived dream. However, is it indeed an intriguingly bold and reckless fantasy?Written by
Matthew McConaughey lost 47 lbs for Dallas Buyers Club (2013), but gained 45 pounds in this movie. See more »
When Mike Acosta explains the tectonic plates rubbing and grinding up on each other, he mentions that they do this under "Six trillion kilobytes of pressure" which is incorrect. Pressure is measured in kilo-pascals not kilobytes. See more »
You went looking for bauxite, and you found copper. I went looking for gold, and found a friend.
That is the single hokiest thing I've ever heard in my life.
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Another notable McConaughey turn can't save this drama
A few years ago a performance like the one Matthew McConaughey delivers here in Stephen Gaghan's based on a true tale Gold would've created quite a stir.
It's a credit to the actor, who resurrected his career from the doldrums of so-so romcoms, Surfer Dudes and other forgettable affairs to all of a sudden become an Oscar winning and HBO headlining legend but with that career revival has come an expectation that McConaughey going method and fully inhabiting his characters is the normal and therefore less of an event that it was, a mere few years ago.
No more so evident than in the fact Gold came and disappeared with very little fanfare in the awards season rush at the end of 2016, McConaughey chewing up the scenery wasn't enough to draw people into the cinemas, as the beer bellied, hair thinning and sweaty thespian found himself being the best thing about a so-so film that never feels completely assured of itself.
Telling the rather complex story of struggling 1980's American prospector/mining magnate Kenny Wells, who found fame and wealth by teaming up with prospecting master Michael Acosta in the jungles of Indonesia, Syriana director and Traffic screenwriter Stephen Gaghan never pieces together the many various elements of Well's story into a satisfactory whole as events come and go and Well's journey takes its twists and turns.
As is with any film in the vein of Gold, it's always a fine balance for a filmmaker to strike the perfect line between pandering to an audience or keeping them in the dark and unfortunately for Gold there ends up being too many times where we're left in the lurch a little by the plights affecting Well's while some scenes in the film that feel hugely important to the whole scheme of things, often feel underutilised or passed over which leaves the trials and adversities of this American mogul emotionally unengaging.
What can't be denied in the film however is the aforementioned work of McConaughey, who's a joy to watch as Wells, the car crash waiting to happen.
In a loaded cast that includes an underused Bryce Dallas Howard as Well's long-suffering girlfriend Kay, Edgar Ramirez as Acosta, Corey Stoll as Wall Street player Brian Woolf and Toby (needs a new agent) Kebbell as FBI investigator Paul Jennings, McConaughey stands head and shoulders above the rest and while its far from his best turn over recent years, it's a quality actor that can deliver such above average performances on cue, as McConaughey does here.
Sometimes clad in nothing more than some worn-out white underpants or looking dishevelled beyond belief, McConaughey's turn as Well's deserves a better film and showcases what might've been for Gold had it managed to match the chaotic nature of its main character and the commitment of its on form leading man.
Final say –
Digging up another memorable McConaughey turn, Gold doesn't strike it rich due to tonal issues and a lack of emotional engagement but Gaghan's slightly disappointing film is still an often intriguing true story made all the better by the work of its leading man.
3 pot bellies out of 5
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