Remember when the Wolf Of Wall Street came out and a fair amount of prudish fools said it was too vulgar, too profane, sexual, stuffed with drugs and immoral? Well boy do I have the film for them – Gold, starring Matthew McConaughey, is exactly like the Wolf Of Wall Street if it had all the swearing, sex, drugs and moral bankruptcy removed so as to not offend anyone who gets upset because someone said a bad word or took their clothes off and did it like they do on the discovery channel, and as you might expect, the results are less than stellar.
Of course I don’t mean to compare this movie to the Wolf Of Wall Street because that would be totally unfair, in fact I detest it when someone criticises a movie for not being as good as another film it has nothing on Earth to do with, but I can’t deny that it’s strange how Gold manages to fit that description so perfectly – like Wolf Of Wall Street if it caved in to the demands of all those conservatives who said it went too far and cut all of its risqué content out and onto the floor, it’s just weird.
The film is very loosely based on the mining scandal that happened in 1993, when a massive amount of gold was claimed to have been discovered in Indonesia only to turn out later that such claims had been falsified and a vast amount of people lost an equally vast amount of money. We follow McConaughey as a balding, over weight, chain-smoking loser who “discovers” the titular gold and embarks on various ups and downs as he succumbs not to greed but ambition, he even states in the film “It’s not about money, it’s about gold”.
OK, so the good things, McConaughey is really good, ever since he made that famous break from roles involving him leaning on something on all the posters he’s been good in more or less everything, even the films that weren’t all that good, he was still good in them and this is no exception. Every time he takes a drink or lights a cigarette it’s disgusting, you can just feel his insides atrophying with every swig and every puff and the mania with which he jolts his body when he’s in a bad mood is very unnerving, that and the film isn’t badly shot but that leads us into the problems with the film quite smoothly because yes, it may be well shot but there’s no energy to any of it.
The directing is competent but plays it safe, the dialogue is fine but unspectacular and never goes that extra mile to give the story that electric bounce it so desperately needs, it all makes for a very frustrating watch and comes off as rather dull in many scenes. It’s tries to look bright and colourful but that’s just not enough, there are plenty of montages and McConaughey freak-outs but the whole time I was wondering why I was so bored by all of it. It’s because there’s no heart beat, no real pulse, it’s like McConaughey is the life support and everything else is just barely breathing on it’s own, I wanted to be interested in what was going on but the film itself didn’t even seem interested in what was going on.
Even the script feels more than a little sloppy, especially in the first 10 minutes where it fails to even start properly, the opening scene is exposition between two characters that really didn’t make sense, in fact every scene before the title appears could be cut out entirely and the film would be improved greatly. Gold is not a terrible movie, far from it, it’s just not all that good, McConaughey is really good and it doesn’t make technical errors across the board but why was it made? It has no energy behind it, no real panache and the film we have is just a bit of a drag with a rather silly script despite some effort in pockets, a well composed but bland look and style and a story that feels all over the place. Not really worth seeing if I’m honest, at least in my opinion.