The film GOLD is about value, the value of friendship, success, and status. Unfortunately, it goes so deep into this metaphor that it struggles to reach the other side.
Based on a true story, the film is inspired by a real life gold scandal in the nineties, involving three men; David Walsh, a Canadian businessman, geologist John Felderhof and a Filipino exploration manager. The group fooled Wall Street into believing that a veritable Eden of gold was in the jungles of Indonesia, by the time investors found out it wasn’t actually true. Lives were ruined.
The film touches on this aspect but mostly focuses on the bromance between Matthew McConaughey’s gold entrepreneur Kenny Wells and Michael Acosta, a Venezuelan geologist with heaps of sex appeal played by Edgar Ramirez.
The chemistry just isn’t there between them, despite Ramirez trying his damnedest to play it straight opposite McConaughey’s schmacting. At least he didn’t utter an ‘alright, alright, alright’ at any point. But he wanted to; you could almost see the struggle.
Location-wise the movie is rich – the audience is taken from a dank office in Reno, Nevada to the lush verdancy of Indonesia and then a few snazzy boardrooms on Wall Street. It could have been an epic story if not for all the McConaughey-isms. You know the ones, the vigorous and hammy way of acting he can slip into at times.
It’s more than apparent in his choices as Kenny – the character felt too one-dimensional. He was too obviously a mess, with a faux bald head and 50 extra pounds. The visual was distracting. The story was compelling enough without the added eccentricities.
The saving grace in all this is Bryce Dallas Howard who plays Kenny’s long-suffering girlfriend, Kaylene. She sticks by him despite the journey he goes on, leaving her behind with teased hair and a pocketful of dreams.
Howard is always good, she plays it true, and that was desperately needed in the trough of cliches this film lives in.
GOLD could have been more, sometimes simplicity wins. It’s a shame the filmmakers didn’t see the value in that.