Panned from the same rivers that brought you ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and ‘War Dogs’, ‘Gold’s’ glitter is mined from a real-life story. Similar to the the afore-mentioned movies, its dramatic quality has been fashioned into an engaging cycle of success followed by failure, all fuelled by Matthew McConaughey’s portrayal of Kenny Wells and his belief in a manifest destiny.
In the title role McConaughey gives it everything he’s got. Gaining weight, losing hair, he is as committed as Kenny is, sacrificing his matinee idol looks in another commendable step-away from his past as ‘the torso seemingly written in at contractual level’. Ever since ‘Killer Joe’ that Matthew McConaughey has been put into the earth and a darker character actor has arisen to take his place. ‘Gold’ is indeed another step away from McConaughey’s muscle-rippled past but also a further step away from the dark persona that so hauntingly inhabited ‘American Detective: Season 1’. From likeable to scary, from haunted to hilarious (see his brief but memorable ad-lib’d scene in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’) Matthew McConaughey is on a journey away from himself – and the destination continues to be commendably varied.
It’s not the fever but the reward that holds you...
Like ‘War Dogs’ and ‘Lord of War’, ‘Gold’s’ scale of excess is hard to appreciate even on the size of a silver screen. The real-life numbers are so large that it makes you wonder why the lead characters didn’t walk away whilst they’re winning – but that’s the point. It’s not the fever but the reward that holds you and this is regard McConaughey’s gambler charm drives the picture, underlining his character’s mania and the inner hole he needs to fill.
Success can be an all-consuming thing and in this modern-day tale of corporate prospecting gone mad there are many casualties along the way. Like any morality tale these casualties are suitably marked on the road that you shouldn’t travel and ‘Gold’ does a good job of highlighting them. However, whether by adhering to veracity, or walking away from it, ‘Gold’s’ fever never truly becomes all-consuming. Like Kenny, you always believe that everything is going to be ok and so when the tragedies come, they never feel as deep as the heights they fell from.1