Thanks to StudioCanal we had the chance to see ‘Gold’ before its official cinematic release. This is our review of the film, but as usual remember that there is no better critic than yourself!
Matthew McConaughey stars in ‘Gold’ (not to be confused by his earlier flop ‘Fools Gold’). The film centers around his struggle to rebuild his late father’s mining company. With the help of his geologist friend, they strike gold in Indonesia and the greed, lies, deception and corruption that comes with it provides the stimulus for most of the film. I am never sure if an “inspired by true events” slogan before the opening credits makes me intrigued or skeptical. I discovered the film is very loosely based on a stock promoter, David Walsh, and his company Pre-X minerals (a gold mine in Indonesia). Interesting!
‘Gold’ is engaging fun, fast paced and tells the classic rags to riches story that audiences can’t get enough of. Its standout performances all round but especially Matthew McConaughey really powers on an otherwise mediocre script. He transforms into Kenny Wells, a beer guzzling, loud mouth, bald, charismatic drunk whose sheer determination and bull headedness makes him a multi-millionaire (and his own worst enemy).
McConaugheys’ performance does live up to the hype and his protruding belly is a stark contrast to his skinny frame in his Oscar winning turn in the “Dallas Buyers Club”. McConaughey has truly made a great niche for himself as his stylised acting creates stand out characters that could never be replicated by other actors. The supporting actors include Edgar Ramirez (Joy, The Girl on the Train) who plays the co founder of the mine and Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help, Jurassic World) as Wells’ long time/ long suffering girlfriend. Both these actors are excellent in grounding the story through providing a level of realism to counteract the larger then life Kenny Wells.
Acting aside, nothing about the film stood out. It felt like a tepid copy of the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’. The film’s focus on Kenny Wells’ “wild ride” into wall street parties, drugs and alcohol is neither shocking enough to leave an impact or immerse the audience in this seamy world. Further, Kenny Wells is neither anti-hero or lovable enough for the audience to embrace. ‘Gold’ is played too safe. The film feels like its lacking authenticity to achieve an M rating.
‘Gold’ is also too long, dragging in parts and taking a long time to finish. The director seems unsure how to end the film so he has multiple endings though long meaningful shots that fade to black before a new scene starts. This really let it down as ‘Gold’ maintained a good pace throughout and it was disappointing to watch it loose its momentum.
Overall ‘Gold’ is a film that is fast paced and engaging. The films classic 80s/90s soundtrack and stellar acting performances sustains the at times slow and uneven story. “Gold” does provide another insight into the greed and corruption of Wall Street but doesn’t deliver a strong enough punch to leave a lasting impression.
Gold is out on cinemas now