Based on the 1997 Bre-X mining scandal, "Gold" stars Matthew McConaughey as Kenny Wells, a prospector based in Reno, Nevada, instead of Canada where the real corporation was headquartered. Wells has taken over his daddy's (Craig T. Nelson) company and run it into the ground. The character McConaughey plays ---- beer belly et al --- is modeled after David Walsh, the chief executive caught up in the fraud.
In Hollywood's version of this major shake-up, Wells is down to his last pennies --- actually "stealing" his long-suffering girlfriend, Kay's (Bryce Dallas Howard) gold watch. He takes off for Indonesia to find geologist Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez), who supposedly knows where to find gold in them thar jungles. And gold they find.
The rest of the movie details Wells' brush with fame and fortune, before everyone else tries to take his gold away --- including the government of Indonesia. Kay leaves him, and all of his friends abandon him.
McConaughey takes the script by Patrick Massett and John Zinman and makes it his own. Though this true story is not nearly as profound as "Dallas Buyers Club", his performance is every bit as good.
Eating burgers and drinking beer to achieve his unhealthy gut, McConaughey proudly shows off his new form, choosing to dance around in his tighty-whities on numerous occasions. But almost no one does it better. We revel in Wells' newfound fortune as much as he does. And our disappointment over its loss is equally devastating. McConaughey has become a master at perfecting these kinds of roles.
Ramirez, the hottie from Venezuela, who was so good as Roberto Duran in "Hands of Stone" (2016) and who owned the only really enjoyable performance in "Joy" (2015), is a perfect choice to face off with McConaughey. As two unlikely compadres, who are initially wary of one another, these two actors form a bond on screen that is truly believable.
Truthfully, when we saw the trailer for this film at a local theater, I wasn't that anxious to see it. However, "Gold" is a highly entertaining adventure, made even more so by the electric performance from McConaughey.
Opinion: See It Now!
You can't say Matthew McConaughey doesn't get into his roles. He lost a great deal of weight for his Oscar-winning performance in "Dallas Buyers Club". For his latest film, he gained a paunch and cut his beautiful locks. As a friend said recently, he certainly "glammed down" for "Gold".
He plays Kenny Wells Jr., son of a smart, successful mining prospector (Craig T. Nelson), who ventures to the jungles of Indonesia to seek his fortune. He is accompanied by geologist Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez, "Hands of Stone"), and the pair experience a roller coaster of emotions --- mega-disappointments in their search, offset by giddy gold strikes. Junior even contracts malaria at one point.
"Gold" is an intriguing film based on real events from 1997. The two men share a friendship, a mutual goal and ultimately, bitter betrayal. The movie is full of twists and turns, and should be seen on the big screen for its striking cinematography alone. Probably the most fascinating aspects of "Gold" are the business discussions surrounding the expeditions to Indonesia.
McConaughey again substantiates his status as an A-list actor, and Ramirez follows his excellent portrayal of Roberto Duran with another strong performance. As with every film in which he appears, McConaughey is the center of attention, and deservedly so. But Ramirez more than holds his ground opposite him.
Corey Stoll, a veteran character actor, is his usual stellar self as New York investment banker, Brian Woolf, who wants to collaborate with Kenny and Acosta on their gold mine discovery. Watching Woolf try to fleece Wells is inspired acting. Bryce Dallas Howard plays Kay, Kenny Jr.'s girlfriend, in a bland turn, not her fault, it's the writing.
Director Stephen Gaghan is a previous Oscar winner for his screenplay of "Traffic", a film that won four total Oscars in 2001, but did not capture the Best Picture award. "Gold", meanwhile, was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song.
Opinion: Mild See It Now!