★★ | Gold
Matthew McConaughey deservedly won an Oscar a couple years back for his portrayal of an AIDS victim in the film Dallas Buyers Club. He definitely won’t win one for his new film Gold.
Gold is the true story of American Kenny Wells – a man so intent on following in his father’s footsteps that he’ll do anything to succeed. His father, played by Craig T. Nelson, founded a mining company, and Kenny wants to keep the company going strong. So he goes in search of gold, a commodity that he hopes is easy to find and which he hopes will make him extremely rich. He teams up with geologist Mike Acosta (Edgar Ramirez), and with Mike’s expertise in knowing where exactly to mine for gold (it is in the unchartered jungles of Indonesia), they easily, perhaps too easily, find gold and become very very rich. Their company goes public and the stock goes up and up and up. Other larger companies start circling around them like vultures trying to buy them out, with investments bankers ready to seal the deal to become rich themselves. It’s all about money and who can trump who, but it comes at a cost. Wells gets malaria in the Indonesian jungle and almost doesn’t survive, his long-term girlfriend Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard) doesn’t like the man he’s become, and to top it off, is Acosta the man he appears to be? It’s basically The Wolf of Wall Street all over again. And if you remember McConnaughey’s excellent cameo in that movie (as a rich and successful banker mentor), well in Gold he is playing a similar character. It’s fine for a few minutes of showmanship but for more than two hours it gets to be a bit too much.
McConaughey, who put on the pounds for this role (he lost the pounds for Dallas Buyers Club), overacts and overacts. Gold, which is set in the eighties, shows Wells as a man who gets everything he wants, and method actor McConaughey plays it over the top. Howard is much much better as his girlfriend – all she wants is a simple life and does not care for nights at the Waldorf Hotel or expensive meals. The standout in this film is Ramirez. He’s charismatic and extremely believable as Well’s business partner, a man who knows his business and can charm both the men and the women. Ramirez was also the lone standout in the awful The Girl on a Train as Doctor Kamal Abdic. Make him a leading man already! Directed by Stephen Gaghan (Traffic and Syriana), in Gold, there’s no excitement, no feeling of happiness or sadness when the characters go through their ups and downs. And the soundtrack is just god awful – the music just doesn’t go with the scenes in the film – it’s tepid at best but belongs in an old cowboy western movie.
Originally scheduled to open wide on December 25, 2016, it was pushed back to open on January 27, with the December 25 release staying a limited release in order to qualify for awards. The film’s limited release was then pushed back to December 30, 2016, four days after its presumed date. Gold has not been nominated for any awards, it doesn’t deserve any.