Film Review: Gold

Film Review: Gold

Prospector Kenny Wells watches the family’s mining company slowly disappear. Determined to succeed, he travels to Indonesia in the eager search for gold.


Inspired by a true story, Gold aims high, but unfortunately settles for silver. Despite an interesting story line, it fails to achieve its potential credibility.

After losing his father, prospector Kenny Wells watches the successful mining company his father built from the ground up slowly disappear. Determined to regain his family company’s success, he travels to Indonesia, teaming up with famed geologist Michael Acosta in the eager search for gold. Wells discovers though, that finding the riches may have been hard, but holding onto them will be even harder; the corporate jungle provides just as many challenges as the wild.

The spanning aerial shots of the lush, green stretches of tropical rain forest are stunning and director Stephen Gaghan isn’t afraid to show the audience the difficulties that lie within attempting to mine in uncharted and dense jungle. The rain, the mud, the malaria – as well as the Indonesian authorities – all pose complex difficulties to Well’s mining odyssey.

Gold presents many rags-to-riches similarities to the highly-lauded Wolf of Wall Street: offices full of men yelling into phones, infidelities with hot blondes, and life-crippling fraud. Unfortunately Gold comes off second best, although this otherwise mediocre film is somewhat redeemed by an unexpected twist towards the end of the film that injects much needed interest.

Mathew McConaughey’s physical transformation is impressive and reinforces his dedication to fully embracing this new role. Admirers of his younger, muscular protagonist will be stunned by his transformation into this balding, pot-bellied, middle-aged prospector with his jelly buttocks shown off in saggy white underwear and little else. Oscar winning McConaughey obviously envelops this role, but unfortunately his character just can’t save the film from its failings.

Edgar Ramirez is superb as the eager geologist who is as hungry for gold as Wells, and who will do whatever it takes to make it happen. The bonding between these two characters creates a totally convincing friendship born in the wilds of Indonesia and brought to life by an exciting synergy between these two talented actors.

In this male dominated film, Bryce Dallas Howard contrives a powerful performance of Wells’ working-class girlfriend, Kay, who is completely loyal to her husband and supportive of his larger-than-life dreams. Her energetic strength combined with her giant, bouncing orange curls are refreshing, especially in a film that severely lacks female presence.

Despite fine performances from all the main actors and interesting and exotic locations, Gold just doesn’t quite hit the winning mark. In the end, it’s not a rich vein of gold that’s being mined here.

Reviewed by Georgina Smerd
Twitter: @Georgie_xox

Rating out of 10:  6

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