Review: Oscar winner, Matthew McConaughey gone method portrays an inspired-by-true-figure prospector, Kenny Wells, in Stephen Gaghan’s Gold. Born with silver spoon, inherited father’s wealth, and ended up as a loser, that’s how Kenny’s life ventures. McConaughey looks hideous and vexing at the same time as ambitious Kenny – bald, black-lunged and pot-bellied; he almost looks like Christian Bale in American Hustle. However hideous he looks, but this man is the epicenter of this greed-ridden adventure – The Wolf of the Wall Street from the jungle.
Inspired by a real event about world’s biggest gold hunt scandal in Indonesia, which cost investors millions of dollars, Gold is never a sympathetic story. You wouldn’t be surprised if this Kenny man brings apocalypse to stock market. He’s innocently ambitious and greedy at the same time. He often claims that what he sees isn’t money, but gold; but, in fact, the prospects of money plus some daddy issues got him blinded. I almost admire his persistence; but getting admiration isn’t really his best aptitude. While the million dollar (or 24 carat) fraud is a big serious deal to tell; Gold practically is McConaughey’s one-man show.
It’s a big ambitious story with lackluster executions. The subject matters are heavy and potentially thought-provoking. It goes in a similar road as Gaghan’s previous work, Syriana – a tale about American dependency on overseas resource – but this time, it leads to American losing bet on that. From climbing up the capitalism structures, stripping off Indonesian New Order regime, and blasting off Wall Street, all those subject matters are cramping out the story. Only, the narrative stutters in narrating those serious matters and gets confused in pointing out the highlight.
One more point that keeps Gold low is its poor gates and stuff of Indonesia as the setting. While casual viewers might not find something which really bothers; some illogical and continuity problem becomes apparent. To cope up with such issue, Gaghan focuses more on McConaughey’s character, narrating how a broken American dream can happen due to one innocent mistake. While coping up with that, Gold neglects what really matter: the scandal.
There are some extra energy pumped up from supporting roles, most notably in Edgar Ramirez and Bryce Dallas Howard. Ramirez, as Kenny’s trusted geologist (from his dream) injects all the possibility that this venture can go extremely high or desperately low; however, the story almost care for nothing about him. In only, Gold gives this character a little more perspectives and motivation; the outcome might be a bit balanced. After all, Ramirez’s Mike Acosta is an important player. Bryce Dallas, despite her screen time and important role, is apparently underused; exactly like how her character is treated in the story.
After all, aside from McConaughey’s committed performance and serious subject matters (falls of capitalism shits, Indonesian hell regime and all), Gold feels unsympathetic and messed up, especially with its stuttered narrative and untidy depiction of retro-Indonesia.