SYNOPSIS: In this epic crime caper based on real-life events, an out-of-luck gold prospector and a willing geologist pull off a brazen scam. Falsely claiming to have located a major gold deposit in Indonesia, the duo proceeds to hoodwink the experts.
“Alright, alright, alright”. The post-Oscar career of Matthew McConaughey has been pretty interesting. Aside from his recent miscalculated appearance in The Dark Tower, the Texan has dabbled in animation, portraying a civil war soldier and a time-travelling astronaut to a scene-stealing cameo in The Wolf of Wall Street. And it’s probably the latter that got McConaughey into a movie liked Gold.
McConaughey plays Kenny Wells who works in his father’s (Craig T. Nelson in a brief scene) prospecting company. But with the death of his father, Kenny finds it hard to keep the company going and is resort to running his business at his girlfriend’s (Bryce Dallas Howard) workplace, a shady bar. Determined to make his late father proud, Kenny flys to Indonesia to meet up with a geologist, Michael (Edgar Ramirez) to go deep into the jungle of Indonesia to find gold. Shortly after suffering a bout of terrible malaria, the two partners manage to uncover a gold mine. Money it seems is no longer a worry for the two men as one by one, Wall Street and the rich and famous comes knocking. Is it a fairy tale that finally comes true or is that nothing but pure greed behind all the commotion?
In the style of The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short, Gold (mostly) delivers an affecting tale of smart men being blinded by greed and promises of endless riches. Kenny Wells may not even be a man that is after all the gold but a man so bent on carrying on his father and grandfather’s legacy that his continual optimism is the ultimate cause of his downfall.
Apart from the obvious lack of flashy treatment of the material which is based on a true fraud case in Canada, Stephen Gaghan who hasn’t made a theatrical movie since Syriana actually made a feature that is more watchable than the usual crop of stuff in cinemas. There’s no sex, no drugs, no frontal nudity except watching Kenny Wells chain-smoking and talking for most of the running time. Neverthless, Gold is entertaining on many aspects including a surprise twist in the end.
Of course, the biggest compliment goes to Matthew McConaughey who channeled Christian Bale in American Hustle with a combover and potbelly, a far cry from his romcom days. He has managed to successfully transform himself in Dallas Buyers Club and in Gold, he has proved The McConaissance is not going to be over anytime soon. Give this underrated title a chance and see for yourself if McConaughey isn’t the heart and soul of it.
Director Stephen Gaghan provides a solid Audio Commentary which touches on the technical aspects, story, cast performances and much more. The 4 minutes feature, The Origins of Gold reveals how the project took off. Another 4 minutes feature, The Locations of Gold talks about how Thailand stood in for Indonesia. Matthew McConaughey as Kenny Wells focuses on the actor’s performance. There’s also a 5 minutes Deleted Sequence.
With the exception of those scenes that took place in foresty Indonesia (lush ambient sound effects), the rest of the audio track is mere rich, clear dialogue. Colours are strong and fine imaging are seen throughout for a movie that is shot on film. A rarity these days.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee