Matthew McConaughey overacts as desperate, obsessed gold prospector Kenny Wells, while Edgar Ramírez, underacts as the kindly geologist he teams up with in a desperate bid for the lucky break they both need so badly. Oddly, perhaps, that comes about in the uncharted jungles of Indonesia.
McConaughey and Ramírez are both good actors, trying to get by with what they are offered, but their styles don’t gel well and their central buddy relationship doesn’t fire up with fiery screen chemistry. Nor does the other relationship explored in the movie, Kenny’s romance with the hapless, long-suffering Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard), another low burner.
Gold is based on a 1980s true story, and the real one might actually be thrilling, but here it is really quite boring. It hardly works at all as adventure, drama, or thriller, and it seems dragged out at two hours, with the key surprises and especially the pat twist ending smug and irritating instead of satisfying.
Corey Stoll and Toby Kebbell are good actors too, but they are not seen at their best as financier Brian Woolf and investigating FBI man Paul Jennings either, and Craig T Nelson has nothing to do as Kenny’s dad. I didn’t really believe in them, or the movie. And I certainly didn’t like any of them, as they are clearly a bunch of dislikeable characters, so spending time in their company is a bit of a chore.
Director Stephen Gaghan does his best to stoke it up but Patrick Massett and John Zinman’s often talky screenplay consistently holds him back. Somehow, there’s a feeling that we have heard the story before and it has been told much better.
It is Gaghan’s first theatrical release as director since Syriana (2005).
© Derek Winnert 2017 Movie Review
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