I have never understood the fascination with gold, apart from the obvious – it looks good. Okay, so its rarity provides the status, but blood has been lost over this precious metal. I always associate gold with pride. People buy it, wear it and talk about it. The more expensive the better as it symbolises you as a person; proud, rich and looking good. I am not being snarky by the way. The point I am making pretty much sums up Gold.
The movie follows the story of Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey), a modern-day prospector with very few options and looking for his lucky break. The movie opens up with a memory of his dead father, the owner of a prospectus company looking for mining opportunities. It then moves forward seven years and due to lack of opportunities in the market, he is about to lose everything. He chances his luck with an equally luckless geologist Michael Acosta (Édgar Ramírez) in the heart of an uncharted jungle in Indonesia, to strike for that Gold.
The movie throws a lot of detail at you regarding mining, stocks and how the system works. It is interesting. The entire concept is gambling. You get a hunch of a certain area of land, pump money and resources to mine and test, and you either get lucky or you have made a loss. McConaughey plays a character that believes in mining for gold and believes he is destined to get lucky. He is forcing a dream because it must come true. There is no other option.
Gold is not that important in Gold. How it grabs Kenny Wells is. He represents a dreamer. In nearly every scene, his every action is built around pride. It’s like he carries a whole weight on his heart to not to let down his father’s legacy. The character represents greed. Gold in many narratives is a character’s downfall. Almost like the glow of it holds them beyond reason. You have to witness him handle that and the movie is centered around it. His sidekick Michael Acosta also represents a dreamer, a subtle one but his air of mysteriousness keeps you at bay until the end of the movie. What keeps this movie strong is that Kenny Wells is more important than the gold itself.
Matthew McConaughey’s performance helps. Portraying a man, a functioning alcoholic with ambition and pride that can maybe cause his own pain. His representation of the character reminds me of Christian Bale in American Hustle; businessman, heavy smoker and a pot belly. In fact if you swapped both characters you probably could get away with it. The only difference is, McConaughey’s character is a little more wild and eccentric. His drunken personality feels like he takes up all the screen. This is practically his film with a supporting cast, and he does brilliantly. There are times when his overzealous attitude does grate on you slightly but overall it is another fine performance from Texas actor.
The movie is imbalanced with the time it dedicates to certain points in the story. It spends a lot of time showing his desperation to find a ‘pot of gold’ that by the time it reaches a point where the narrative needs to dramatically change it becomes rushed to get to its ending. I enjoyed it. It just needed less time in certain areas.
You should watch Gold. It is not the best movie ever but it is an excellent story that teaches principles. It is not all about chasing the status. Pride can sometimes be more harm than good.
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Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.