‘Gold’ tells a lackluster tale with decent acting

Perhaps “Gold” was not the right title. Maybe they should have called it “Beige” because it was not as exciting as it could have been. Or maybe it should have been called “Hodgepodge of mahogany conference tables, blonde blowouts and tiger print” because that is how the second half looked.

The movie has all of the ingredients for a great film: a story inspired by true events, an a-list cast playing outrageous characters, an award-winning director and writers, a plot twist at the end and a theme song written by a rock legend. Unfortunately, having all the right ingredients does not guarantee a great film.

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Set in the late 1980s, “Gold” tells the story of a legacy-obsessed prospector, Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey), as he stumbles across a gold mine in Indonesia. Of course, it is not that simple, as the gold mine has an impact on Wells’ romantic life, and even his standing with the law and the business community of Reno, Nevada. While eccentric and elaborately costumed–with a balding head, snaggle-tooth, beer gut and graying stubble–McConaughey fails to make Wells sympathetic. From start to finish, he is a bit of a sleazeball, and his girlfriend, Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard) is obviously too good for him. Otherwise, McConaughey entirely dedicates himself to the role, making his performance merely alright (as opposed to “alright, alright, alright”).

Howard is hardly given a chance to shine, despite the fact that she is one of the biggest names in the production, and Edgar Ramirez’s, Michael Acosta, fails to strike a chord until you find out that he is an even sleazier mastermind. The rest of the cast is made up of talented actors in roles too small or insignificant for their abilities.

The writing was not top-notch either. It was clear that the team behind the screenplay did their research. Unfortunately, that also meant that the film was full of jargon from an industry that the average moviegoer knows very little about. The movie also suffered from being entirely different from what the trailers depicted. While the story does focus on Wells’ discovery of gold and subsequent failures, its approached through a business lens, leaving the viewer stuck in an office more often than experiencing the thrill of striking gold. The film’s narration is also a tad confusing, as halfway through the movie, it is revealed that rather than a simple voiceover, we are hearing Wells’ interview with the FBI, throwing us the first of many curveballs that were not entirely necessary.

It is not all bad, though. Stories about the mining industry are not that common today, so it was a nice change of pace from the typical business-centered drama, and at points, the film bears similarities to “Wolf of Wallstreet” in terms of the over-the-top lifestyle that is depicted. The final big twist of the film was entirely unexpected and completely welcomed. Also of note, the theme song is reminiscent of Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” and sums up the tone of the tale nicely.

Should you see it?: No. Unless you are a fan of McConaughey, otherwise, you will not miss much.

While the film did not leave the impression that was expected. Ultimately it did not  leave a bad impression. The overall theme of the story is somewhat unclear. However, the movie is a unique look into a business we rarely get to see with a cast that seems to know what they are doing.