At The Movies
Director: Stephen Gaghan
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramírez, Bryce Dallas Howard
‘Gold’ is a based on real life events rags-to-riches story directed by Stehen Gaghan (Syriana) and starring Mathew McConaughey.
Kenny Wells (McConaughey) starts off as an employee at his fathers middling gold mining company. When his father passes Wells takes over and within six years manages to run the company into the ground. By this point Wells is a desperate heavy drinking and chain smoking sad sight of a man forced to work out of a bar.
One night, when he’s at his lowest, Wells has a dream. In the dream he discovers a massive gold mine deposit. Wasting no time at all he sells the last of his valuables and sets out to Indonesia where his dream showed him his fortune.
Once there he manages to convince and recruit the services of Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez) a suave and rugged Indiana Jones type gold prospector. Scrapping together what little funds they could they set out to the jungle to look for the gold. At first they have little luck as the prospecting doesn’t turn anything up. To make matters worse Wells ends up at deaths door step by contracting malaria. But after recovering he is greeted with the news of a life time: they’ve struck gold! And not just any gold, but one of the biggest gold deposit sites in history.
At this point Wells and his company sky rocket with peer recognition and Wall Street knocking at the door. Wells’ fortunes have been reversed as he has followed his dream (literally) to greatness.
But, alas, things are not as they seem and the true story begins to unfold.
Once again McConaughey puts in a fantastic performance as the down on his luck Wells. He undergoes one of his most drastic transformations yet. With a balding head and a protruding beer gut (McConaughey said he had beer and burgers for breakfast to get into ‘shape’) he is barely recognizable as one of the leading hunks of Hollywood. And his portrayal of the character matches the looks. Wells oozes with desperation and sleaze. His failed attempts at trying to woo investors is a truly pitiful sight to behold. But despite his flaws at no point does the man give up his pursuit. It is clear that Wells is passionate about his work and it is not just a means to an end. And unlike characters in other rags-to-riches films it is not greed that motivates him, but recognition. Recognition by his peers as a true gold mining prospector.
So good is McConaugheys portrayal of Wells that he manages to eclipse the rest of the cast. Two noteworthy characters to mention would be Wells’ girlfriend Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard) and his partner Michael (Edgar Ramirez).
Through Wells’ ups and downs Kay remains a loyal, caring and patient woman that clearly loves the man despite his many flaws and bad habits. That is until the money starts rolling and Wells’ gets caught up in the fame and fortune lifestyle with all it’s trappings. Michael is the exact polar opposite of Wells. He is handsome, confident, collected and respectable.
Yet despite their apparent differences he seems to have a genuine affinity for Wells and both become fast friends. Both men seem to be connected by a shared desire for recognition and redemption.
Both Howard and Ramirez play their roles well but are hard matched against McConaugheys Wells.
This film follows the standard rags-to-riches formula (at times ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ came to mind) but does add a twist that manages to take the story in a new direction. So if you’re a fan of these type of stories and enjoy watching a great McConaughey performance I would recommend this film to you.