Doug Reviews: Gold (2016)

Very loosely based on true events and directed by Academy Award-winning writer Stephen Gaghan, Gold tells a 1980s story of obsession and greed and is trying really hard to be American Hustle.

Matthew McConaughey plays Kenny Wells, a minerals prospector who has hit the skids since his father (Craig T. Nelson) passed away and left the family business in disarray. He has a dream about a jungle valley where he believes he’ll find gold and teams up with a disgraced geologist, Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramírez). Together, the two brave all sorts of hardships and strike it rich. Now everyone wants a piece of Kenny and his gold mine, but will the heights of wealth and fame change him into someone his girlfriend, Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard), no longer recognizes?

While Gaghan is a great writer, he didn’t have a hand in scripting Gold, which is unfortunate. The story has a wicked twist that I didn’t see coming, but aside from that, much of the movie felt pretty lifeless and lacking energy. That critique excludes McConaughey, who gives his all to the role. He’s the one bright light in this thing. Ramirez came across to me as being bored throughout and while Howard does her best, the script by Patrick Massett and John Zinman doesn’t give her a whole lot to do. The second half of the film does pick up a bit once Wells and Acosta find the gold, but you might be bored by then as you wait for them to actually find it. The whole film felt like it was going for the vibe that David O. Russell captured on American Hustle, but it never gets there.

Overall, Gold has a great cast stranded in a movie that just isn’t all that great. It’s a fine film and I enjoyed several parts of it, but aside from McConaughey’s performance, there’s nothing to really write home about. The twist is great, but the first half of the film is kind of a slog, so it all evens out. Check it out when it hits cable.


Rating: C+


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