Movie Review - Gold

Matthew McConaughey got fat, put in bad teeth and made the top of his head balding. The question is why. He's playing a fictionalized version of a real person. Maybe he's trying to approximate the real person's look, but the real guy was never balding, and despite the weight McConaughey added, it wasn't enough to affect the kind of transformation and immersion into a character by which anyone would really be impressed.

McConaughey stars as Kenny Wells, a man in 1988 who is trying to get investors to give him money so that he can establish a mining operation in the jungle of Indonesia. He's aware of a geologist named Michael Acosta, played by Édgar Ramírez (Wrath of the Titans and Joy). Kenny is able to scrap together enough capital to get started. After the Indonesian workers strike and Kenny gets sick with malaria, all of a sudden Michael comes to Kenny and says they've found a gold mine and they're going to be rich.

This starts Kenny on a roller-coaster ride, which positions this movie somewhere between The Wolf of Wall Street and The Founder. Unfortunately, this film is nowhere near as interesting. While the screenplay by Patrick Massett and John Zinman offers insight on how a gold mining site might work, the movie reveals itself to be about the wrong person.

The movie is told from Kenny's point of view when it should've been from Michael's point of view. The Wolf of Wall Street and The Founder were about the guys taking advantage of others, Jordan Belfort and Ray Kroc respectively. Both men start out as struggling and down on their luck but then both men manipulate whatever system to build a fortune on a house of cards that they either can or cannot maintain.

As the movie goes along, we're led to believe that Kenny is yet another Jordan Belfort and Ray Kroc, but in actuality, he's not. Michael is the Jordan Belfort of this movie, but the movie doesn't want to center on Michael. It should have. Having Michael as the lead, instead of supporting, would have been more interesting because it would have made the protagonist Latino. Ramírez gets a good amount of screen time but it's never about what's going on in his head or his life.

Directed by Stephen Gaghan, the movie just favors the white guy for no real reason. Kenny is not the most interesting character. He's in a crucial position, but despite his assertions, Kenny is a figurehead who doesn't really do anything. Michael is the real shark but like Jaws, this movie doesn't want to show us the shark when recent films would show us that shark and his bite.

Rated R for language and some sexuality / nudity.
Running Time: 2 hrs.


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