Film Review – Gold (2016)

Title – Gold (2016)

Director – Stephen Gaghan (Syriana)

Cast – Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Corey Stoll, Rachael Taylor, Toby Kebbell, Macon Blair, Bill Camp

Plot – Based on the true story of Kenny Wells (McConaughey), a struggling prospector who strikes it rich in Indonesia with the help of business partner Michael Acosta (Ramirez) as the two uncover a gold rich paradise.

“The only question I’m left with is; how did $17 billion disappear overnight?”

Review by Eddie on 15/06/2017

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 longsuffering 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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10 responses to “Film Review – Gold (2016)

  1. Agreed! Just saw it — rented. Matthew, a gigantic talent, really carries what otherwise could be a lost effort for such a complex and rivoting true events story.

  2. Would have been way better if it were from the perspective of Michael de Guzman but they were distracted by the empty prestige of an Oscar award.

  3. I remember being really hooked by this trailer, but I never ended up seeing it. Lost in the shuffle I guess. Unfortunate to hear that it doesn’t deliver.

  4. See maybe it’s just me..but I thought Edgar Ramirez stole the show. Bryce Dallas Howard was not very good (putting it nicely 🙂 ) Toby Kebbell SOOOOO needs a new agent or manager, and I don’t know how much more McConaughey’s body can take of these morphisms. I met the whole cast in Nov after a screening.. Now that’s a good 7 or 8 mos from filming and Matthew was still carrying around a good portion of the extra weight… it gets harder as you age to do that kinda thing..he’s gotta watch himself now. Just my opinion. The movie..meh.. it was so so.. I did like the ending tho! 🙂

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