Matthew McConaughey’s GOLD glitters but never truly shines
Matthew McConaughey is committed to his craft and he has the tendency to go all out if the role requires it. He lost a staggering 38 pounds to play a man diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in The Dallas Buyer’s Club (2013). It was that type of dedication which earned McConaughey his one and only Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. Putting his signature Texas twang and proclivity for going shirtless aside, they guy is a very talented performer. This time around the scales are tipping in another direction entirely with his latest film, Gold.
Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) is a savvy salesman, although he calls himself a prospector, that exudes confidence with every breath he takes. Running the company that his father started, Kenny thinks he has the world by the balls but he’s in for a rude awakening. Running a business like his is no easy task and what goes up must eventually come crashing back down. Kenny finds himself working out of a bar with a few friends in the hopes of landing that “next big deal” that’ll put him back on track. As a prospector for gold and other valuable minerals, it’s a tough sale. When at his lowest point (so far), Kenny teams up with Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramírez) to go digging for gold. If the duo can somehow catch a break in the country of Indonesia where they have their sites on searching, maybe salvation can still be had.
Stephen Gaghan (Syriana (2005)) has extensive experience as a writer, but not so much as a director, which is his role with Gold. As movies go that are inspired by true events, you can almost always expect lulls throughout. This one is no different but at least we get Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar (2014)) to help keep our thoughts occupied. McConaughey goes high carbs for (hopefully) high praise as he packs on a whopping 40+ pounds to properly portray Kenny Wells. He goes through the full gamut of emotions and makes for an interesting spectacle from beginning to end.
Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World (2015)), Edgar Ramírez (Hands of Stone (2016)) and Corey Stoll (Ant-Man (2015)) bring different forms of interaction to the lead character. While the chemistry isn’t the best between all of the actors, it isn’t terrible either. There are obvious trials and tribulations that Kenny Wells must deal with and each of these actors are there to hold up their portion. McConaughey still does the majority of the heavy lifting which is why his performance will be the only one you’ll even remotely be thinking about.
Here’s a little fun note: This is now the third time that Matthew McConaughey has gone in search of gold. He did some desert digging in Sahara (2005), deepwater diving in Fool’s Gold (2008) and now some jungle exploration in Gold. Too bad none of these performances are “little gold statue”, nor will they ever be considered box office gold. That’s the sad irony of this.
Gold lacks the engaging fun, excitement and drama that a movie like The Wolf of Wall Street (2014) garnered. This is more like mundane mining with an occasional glimmer of hope. I see no reason to recommend anyone to rush out to see this but I will also not forcibly try to talk you out of seeing it either. I will simply say that there’s a reason they waited until this time of year to release it. I will also say that in a world of rated PG-13 movies, it is quite puzzling why they didn’t make a couple of obvious cuts to avoid the R-rating. I do not foresee a very profitable theatrical run here.