Review: McConaughey Channels Jack Nicholson Mid-Panic Attack in ‘Gold’

Having received – excuse the pun – a bit of a panning elsewhere, Stephen Gaghan’s lively rise-and-fall drama arrives on these shores as soiled goods.

Inspired by true events, it’s the tale of one (made-up) man’s obsessive search for gold. But the real story seems to be star Matthew McConaughey’s elusive search for another Oscar.

With (real) gut and (fake) bald head, McConaughey plays Kenny Wells, a down-on-his-luck prospector who puts his faith in maverick geologist Mike Accosta (Edgar Ramirez). When the pair strike gold deep in the Indonesian jungle, Wells becomes a big shot on Wall Street. Chiefly this involves throwing whisky glasses at walls, montages and having sex in helicopters, but at least it’s never boring.

Full of the sort of speeches that make more impact than sense – “The last card you turn over is the only one that matters!” declares Wells, showing at best a rudimentary grasp of gambling – the script plays show and tell too many times, often not very well. “There’s no way I could possibly describe the feeling,” Wells offers. OK, but give it your best shot, mate.

To say that Gold is not completely successful as a film would be like saying McConaughey overacts a tiny bit. In fact, he seems to be channelling Jack Nicholson mid-panic attack. It’s very entertaining, but his star power flattens the rest of the cast, including decent actors such as Bryce Dallas Howard, Toby Kebbell and Macon Blair. With 10 per cent less McConaughey and 10 per cent more everyone else, Gold, you feel, would be a much better investment.

‘Gold’ Movie Times