Matthew McConaughey misses out on Oscar with curiously dull Gold

Gold (2017) – Film Review

Matthew McConaughey and Edgar Ramirez in Gold

Matthew McConaughey and Edgar Ramirez in Gold

“Inspired by true events” is a title caption at the beginning of Gold but given that the ‘inspiration’ is the Bre-X mining scandal from the 1990s that very few people have heard of it’s a slightly pointless caption.

What we get is a story about a dreamer who gets together with a geologist and bets the last of his money on finding gold in Indonesia in the 1980s and actually hits paydirt but finds with untold riches there are some pretty serious consequences.

Matthew McConaughey delivers an overtly oscar-baiting performance as an out-of-shape, balding, nicotine-infused, drink-soaked businessman Kenny Wells.

He comes from a multigenerational mining family and literally has a dream about finding the gold prospect of the decade which will rescue his ailing company which was started by his grandfather and taken to success by his father.

It was a role that saw McConaughey diligently gain 47 pounds to inhabit the role of Wells but if the aim was recognition in the Oscars he seems to have fallen short.

The 80s setting seems to have served as short-hand for that decade’s excess, distinct fashion sense (witness co-star Bryce Dallas Howard’s hair and clothes) and also served as an excuse to air some tunes by the likes of New Order and Iggy Pop.

McConaughey’s performance dominates the film, overshadowing small but important roles by Dallas Howard as Wells’ girlfriend, Kay, and Edgar Ramirez as Michael Acosta, a geologist with his own motivations who helps him make the find.

Where there’s gold worth billions of dollars, however, there’s people from all walks of life wanting a piece of the action and Wells’ dream quickly becomes a nightmare.

Gold slow and episodic

The film is a little slow and episodic, however, and goes a little Wolf of Wall Street in a slow, and slightly repetitive second act after an interesting first act in the Indonesian jungle and the third act wanted too much to wrap things up neatly.

Overall, the plot didn’t seem to hang together as well as I would have liked and seemed to go on slightly too long with inadequately signposted twists.

In a week in which McConaughey plays a similar role as a Koala with dreams in Sing, it would be trite to say that his better performance was as Buster Moon in the aforementioned animation but there was more value in Sing than in Gold.

Gold (15; strong language; 121 minutes)

Summary: GOLD is a US drama in which two men team up to investigate a possible gold mine in the Indonesian jungle.

VERDICT: ***