Matthew McConaughey plays Kenny Wells, a businessman with about as much luck as Only Fools‘s Del Boy in his latest film Gold. Kenny teams up with geologist Mike Acosta (Édgar Ramírez) to find gold in the untapped jungles of Borneo.
The film begins with Wells worming his way to the affections of his girlfriend and proposing a potentially lucrative business venture to his father who owns a mammoth business in the mining industry. The film skips forward and we learn that his father has died, and the business has been in decline since. His remaining employees are working from the confines of a gloomy bar but Wells has a plan.
Journeying to south America to meet with Acosta, the pair team up to with the aim of tapping into the currently untouched jungles of Borneo. After their first successful endeavour and a testing case of malaria for Wells, the men become well-known names in the mining world with the promises of fame and fortune on the horizon.
Matthew McConaughey proves himself to be a noteworthy entity by taking on another transformative role. The scenes of Kenny Wells in his tighty whities are reminiscent of similar scenes from the second season of Fargo – Jesse Plemons also gained weight for that particular role. Let’s also not forget who made those pants look even less appealing than they already were: Breaking Bad‘s Walter White. McConaughey definitely wears them worse…
The film is forgettable for the most part. Despite knowing Kenny is in a rut, we don’t see much of his struggle and while oozing a sense of oafish boldness, he doesn’t charm anyone to the point they wish for him to succeed.
McConaughey plays an unstoppable beast with gold in his sights but the film doesn’t quite live up to that; the film has no real driving force, and instead we rely on the hope that the performance of our lead will bring this story to a worthwhile conclusion.
We slog through the second act as the film does nothing unique in its way of portraying Kenny’s journey to success. For the most part, we have seen this all before and done better in films such as The Wolf of Wall Street and War Dogs.
The film strikes gold, however, with an expertly designed climax. As the twist is revealed the audience are left in a period of uncertain suspense as we flow into the final act. For those unfamiliar with the true events that inspired the film, there will be no spoilers. All that will be said is, when you hear those climactic words you’ll be in a state of disbelief, and until the credits roll, you’ll not know who to trust…
As talented as the two of them are, McConaughey and Ramírez have very little chemistry on-screen. You couldn’t really put these two men together, although you visibly see it, that’s about the only convincing factor…It cannot be forgiven either that the film completely wastes Yellowjacket himself Corey Stoll in a role as bland as chewing gum after that flavoursome first minute. McConaughey will need to strike that pickaxe if he wants to hit cinematic gold once again.
Dir: Stephen Gaghan
Prd: Matthew McConaughey, Patrick Massett, John Zinman, Teddy Schwarzman, Michael Nozik
Scr: Patrick Massett, John Zinman
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Édgar Ramírez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll, Toby Kebbell, Craig T. Nelson, Bruce Greenwood
Music: Daniel Pemberton
Country: United States
Running Time: 121 Minutes
Gold is out in UK cinemas now.