Lackluster Gold holds the promise of a good film buried somewhere deep
I’m a strong believer in the McConaissance. With my staunch belief comes a tide of respect and trust. I believe that McConaughey has come a long way from his flaky Rom-Com past. Through his metamorphoses from leaning on leading ladies to standing on his own feet, I trust McConaughey to choose roles with substance.
Mud, Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf of Wall Street, Interstellar and, of course, True Detective. There is no doubt that MattMcCon has been nailing it this side of 2010. So when I saw the trailer for Gold I will admit that my faith faltered. A film about the perpetually disadvantaged social group of white American men successfully mining in a developing country, I did not find the premise to be particularly gripping. But I was wrong. Not about the film, there was no unexpected nugget of gold to be found here, a nugget of something else perhaps. And we all know how the old adage goes about what we can and can’t polish…
No, I was wrong to doubt McConaughey’s choice of role. The classic Southern Bro: a dickhead tempered by their charm but nevertheless undeserving of the success that falls into their lap. He knows these roles and he knows how to entertain us, to revitalize the well-trodden path of debaucherous, well-loved ruffian. It is a safe role, audiences love watching racy law-breaking, to see slick people getting away with mild-level corruption to sip mimosas on a faraway island. Especially if it is not at the cost of the little guy.
This strange adoration with shady business dealings is best evidenced in the success of The Wolf of Wall Street. But quite unlike TWOWS grandiose style, Gold falls short. If The Wolf were the popular captain of the footy team, Gold would be his younger, lamer cousin who is still weirdly into Yu-Gi-Oh at 17. From the boring and drawn out exposition (which for once isn’t enhanced by McConaughey’s narration) to the lazily established ‘twist’, Gold doesn’t reach for much. It doesn’t unearth any kind of heart, not even with McConaughey's dexterous breath-of-life into an oftentimes insipid script. It would have better served the film to prioritise the solid soundtrack of 80s bangers (e.g. The Pixies, New Order and Joy Division) rather than focus on dragging exchanges of dialogue.
The result: Gold was uninspired. Even with an entertaining performance from McConaughey, this film just didn’t shine.
2/5 unpolished turds