By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
The best thing about this latest, “Based on Actual Events,” movie is the earnest and passionate performance Matthew McConaughey gives in it. The worst thing, however, is the somewhat lackluster way that director Stephen Gaghan presents the story. Thankfully, Gold isn’t another Scorsese clone like American Hustle, The Infiltrator, and War Dogs, but this film really has little style at all and presents its otherwise fascinating story in a flat and uninteresting way. Gold really isn’t a terrible movie by no stretch, but its limitations keep it from being a great and truly satisfying one.
Matthew McConaughey stars as Kenny Wells, a hard-luck businessman who struggles to keep his family’s mining company from going under. Once a major player in gold-mining, Wells’ company has fallen on hard times, not even able to afford its own office. With his employees working out of their local tavern, Wells is hungry and desperate for a major gold strike. After contacting geologist Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez), the two mean team up to seek out gold in Indonesia. After braving elements, illness and other threats, Wells and Acosta return home successful, but with this success come new threats and obstacles to overcome.
Written by Patrick Massett and John Zinan, Gold tells a compelling story with interesting characters and a few surprises, but the pacing is sometimes off and Gaghan presents it with little to no panache or zeal. As annoyed as I get with Scorsese knock-offs, at least those films have a certain energy and fire to them. This movie’s fire and energy only comes from the actors, particularly McConaughey. His performance, alone, certainly elevates this movie’s watch-ability.
Completely shedding his toned and tanned heartthrob image, McConaughey shuns glamour and goes for a blue-collar, working man’s grit (and gut) with a balding hairline proudly on display. All aesthetics aside, though, the actor, once again, puts his heart and soul into this role like it will be his last. Because the movie itself falls too far short of greatness, I’m afraid his acting here got overlooked when it came to 2016’s acting nods. In addition to McConaughey, Gold can boast great acting by Edgar Ramirez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll, and Rachael Taylor.
And it is mainly because of the acting that I give this movie a reluctant three stars out of four. As I previously stated, the film’s story does have its moments and certainly could have made for a superb movie. I suppose it is simply getting more difficult to make, “Based on Actual Events,” without adopting the style of other filmmakers who have excelled in this department such as Martin Scorsese. It would have to take a brilliant, imaginative and innovative mind to present true stories in bold and new ways. Until then, movie audiences will probably see more movies like Gold and will have to patiently wait for true cinematic gold.