The Matthew McConaughey renaissance hits a stumbling block with this forgettable drama-adventure based on the true story of 1993 concerning the Bre-X mining scandal. Thomas Brownridge takes a look…
Based on the real life 1993 Bre-X mining scandal, director Stephen Gaghan’s film sets off on a journey to find gold in the uncharted jungle of Indonesia. Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) sets up a 1-2-1 meeting with Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez), an eager opportunist and profiteer, and together they concoct an elaborate hoax in the hope to achieving untold riches.
Wells, an overweight, chain-smoking, alcoholic, greedy good for nothing, takes on the bankers and investors for money, to back up his and Michael’s mining process in Indonesia. Of course, money comes flying their way because of the exchange for gold. But greed gets the better of him and he ultimately loses his wife as well as his and other people’s money.
Matthew McConaughey delivers a standard performance for this standard movie. McConaughey is known for been in award-nominated films, however, the only gold this film will be seeing is from its title.
Gold is stretched over different periods of Wells’ life, showing key stages of the journey he went through. This type of storytelling is confusing without dates on-screen. This happened at the beginning giving us the right information at the time. However, within the second act this element disappeared and more stages of Kenny’s life were appearing. We are only totally satisfied right at the end when Kenny is telling his side of the story to the FBI.
By doing so, this increases the running time. Certain parts of the film didn’t have to be included. On the contrary, yes, we get a background story but it isn’t necessary for it to excel into something more. This information could have been left out and the story would still be the same, especially the subplot with his wife.
There are some positives in Gold such as the make-up, especially on McConaughey. Known for being a heart-throb with the ladies, they won’t find him attractive here. The make-up design is terrific; the dirty look on characters like they haven’t washed because of the work load. It truly made McConaughey and other characters look unhygienic and less attractive. Wells’ clothing has that same look, with a smoked yellow ‘white’ shirt with a bold top hairstyle with long thin hair coming down the sides. This image of Wells, as well as other characters, were a massive positive from the film. These small details were more intriguing than the actual narrative and progression of characters.
Gold isn’t a total disappointment, it has its positives but it is hard to keep that positivity throughout. The smaller details and establishing shots help but don’t make a wholly satisfying film and neither does adding Matthew McConaughey in the mix. The storyline is enough for an entertaining film but it could have been better.