Gold is loosely based on and inspired by the true story of the 1993 Bre-X mining scandal, in which Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey), an unlucky businessman, teams up with geologist Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez) to find gold deep in the unexplored jungles of Indonesia. As the story was unknown to me beforehand, I cannot comment on how accurate the story is presented here, although I can comment on the film itself and, quite honestly, it's one of the worst I have seen for a while.
Unfortunately, through no fault but my own, Matthew McConaughey rubs me entirely up the wrong way and I find his performance here little more than average. It's committed, I will award him that, but not at all convincing and is a typically McConaughey-esque performance. It may just be that his character (and the majority of the characters actually) is utterly deplorable and beyond likeable, but very little exists in the performance that can promote this film to a better place. Edgar Ramirez, charming in last year's Joy, is so one-dimensional and thinly-sketched here that you'd think you were staring at a photograph rather than a second-billed character and Corey Stoll and Toby Kebbell, two promising actors, are entirely underused and underserved. Whether it is just because I am particular fond of her or not, Bryce Dallas Howard is the closest thing to human here, even if she is only demonstrated as a weak-willed lover in the shadows of her slimly husband, in a film generally overpowered by testosterone. She deserves better than this. They all deserve better than this, stranded in such a poor film.
Quick Nathan - think of something positive to say. Well, the film admittedly finds the story it should have been telling all along in the final twenty minutes or so, but it is too little too late by this point and I am surprised I lasted the 121 minutes to see this nonsense through. Can I get back to talking negatively/truthful now? Thanks. Gold follows no structure at all, partly down to being built on such an empty foundation and misdirected story focal point and is executed in a way that doesn't even approach mediocrity - it fails in almost every respect. It's void of anything interesting to say, hinting at the American dream, ideas of greed and control, but never fleshes them out to make them worthwhile, imbuing the film with a horrific notion of absolutely pointlessness. It's a wasted opportunity and acts as a point to prove my hatred for stories about loathsome American men that allow greed to consume them.
Very little actually redeems this film but at least I've found (probably) my least favourite film of the year. And if I haven't, please have mercy on me. Gold gets one star for my fondness of Bryce Dallas Howard, one star for at least eventually finding the story it wants to tell in the final stretch, and half a star for allowing me to write this scathing review; it's been a long time since I got to write a review as cutting as this and I'm not in a hurry to do it again. Vapid and uninspired, this spiritless shell of a film demonstrates everything wrong with Oscar bait.
Summary: Gold is worthless, an insipid and uninspired picture that only appears to magnify its failures by blatantly scrambling for an award season glory it will never unearth. Gold is one to avoid at all costs.
Highlight: The credits rolling and walking out into the rainy, gloomy streets of Birmingham again.