You have to give Matthew McConaughey an A for effort in his latest film excursion, the “loosely based on a true story” Gold.
McConaughey not only stars as wannabe gold magnate Kenny Wells, he also co-produced the movie, thinned his hair, put in some weird teeth and gained some weight for the role. Sadly, maximum effort doesn’t result in optimized return.
The movie is an uneven, confused endeavor, and McConaughey’s physicality comes off looking like a guy who’s in really good shape simply messing himself up for the few months it takes to shoot a movie. He doesn’t look like a real guy in the way Robert De Niro did when he destroyed his physicality for Raging Bull. He just looks slightly out-of-shape and made-up, which is distracting. Even if he looked like a fuzzy elephant wearing sunglasses, Gold would still be a bit of a mess, albeit a sometimes entertaining one.
Wells is a fictional character, and the film is based loosely upon the Bre-X gold scandal of the 1990s. The original scandal occurred in Canada, while director Stephen Gaghan (Syriana) brings the story to the U.S. It all winds up somewhat of a confusing muddle, with action bouncing all over the place. As for simple storytelling, there’s nothing new here, and the big twist isn’t a surprise at all.
The movie wants to be a jungle adventure movie and business adventure all in one, and the two don’t meld together well. It winds up feeling like four or five movies mushed together.