‘Gold’ Blu-ray Review: Rich In Stars, White Collar Crime Movie Still Comes Up Short
Most of the time, movies that star Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, and a slurry of familiar faces, strike it rich. Unfortunately, this is not the case for Gold, the movie inspired by true events surrounding a prospector who claimed to find a gold mine hidden away in Indonesia.
The premise is strong: down-on-his-luck prospector Kenny Wells is looking for the next big thing to help salvage his deceased father’s mining business in the early ’90s. He goes to meet Michael Acosta, a geologist who claims to be able to locate a large gold mine in Indonesia. As per Acosta’s advice, Wells purchases the property and the mining begins. In Indonesia, Wells contracts malaria and is out of commission for several weeks. But when he wakes, Acosta tells him they have found the gold.
What follows is a Martin Scocesse–like re-telling of a white-collar crime story – McConaughey’s voice over is quickly revealed to be the story his character is telling to FBI agents. The general arc of the story feels very much like Gold‘s predecessors including Wolf of Wall Street, and American Hustle. A complex get-rich-quick scheme slowly crosses the legal/illegal line and the money flowing in makes the characters go wild. But in the end, the story telling isn’t original enough, and the actual story of the crime just isn’t as interesting.
Directed by Stephen Gaghan(Traffic), Gold is loosely based on the 1993 Bre-X mining scandal in which a group of Canadian mining companies forged tests that said they had discovered large amounts of gold. After fibbing the tests, their stock prices soared and a lot of people began to invest. Once it was revealed that there wasn’t actually any gold, the money disappeared, and there was no one around to blame.
For legal reasons, all the character’s names and several major plot points have been changed in Gold, which is why McConaughey’s character’s appearance is so baffling. McConaughey’s character is atrocious looking and his appearance distracts from the film on several occasions. Overweight, balding, and with a large snaggletooth that looks like a wad of gum stuck to his front teeth, Wells looks like a cartoon character. While David Walsh, the real life Wells, was overweight, there was nothing particularly jarring about his appearance.
Regardless, McConaughey’s performance is apt and it is hard to imagine anyone else playing the role any better. And although his character is similar to ones he has played in the past, Kenny Wells has another dimension, one that makes him a little softer, making him a welcomed addition into McConaughey’s catalogue.
Although it stalls several times, Gold has enough weight behind it to make for an entertaining weekend watch. It won’t stick with you forever, but its shiny exterior is enough to reel you in and keep you there, if only for a couple of fleeting hours.
The Blu-ray edition of Gold includes commentary from Gaghan, a deleted scene, a four-minute segment about how the film came to fruition, a discussion on shooting in Thailand, and a segment about the infamous appearance of Kenny Wells.
Watch the trailer for Gold below.