Far from the gold standard…..
It’s always interesting to see which films make it into the public conscious. Because in 2014, while it was the likes of 12 Years A Slave and Dallas Buyers Club that won all the awards that year, it was actually The Wolf of Wall Street that is referenced and fondly remembered. And perhaps that rankled Matthew McConaughey because while his brilliant Academy Award winning performance is forgotten, more people remember Jonah Hill eating a goldfish. So keen to make sure he also has some epic memes made of him, McConaughey has also decided to make a Wall Street excess movie and it is Gold.
Prospector Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey, Interstellar) is desperate to get his big break so he teams up with Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez, The Bourne Ultimatum) and travels to Indonesia. And despite both being pushed to the edge while there, they eventually come across one of the biggest gold finds of all which makes both incredibly rich and successful beyond any of their dreams.
So reading that, you think you know the sort of story that is going to be told. Basically we’re going to have in what in essence is a gangster movie, someone manages to climb to the top of their game before ego ends up taking them down. And while that is a well used plot, it is a very good one and if you make the events leading to each stage in the plot different it won’t be very noticeable. And for the longest time, the film suggests that it is this sort of plot it is going for. You can obviously tell that Kenny thinks very highly about himself after this find and is rubbing people the wrong way with his personality. But yet, the movie doesn’t do this. It does the entire plot, but decides that it wants to go in a very different direction. And as the movie doesn’t do any build up to this change, that doesn’t work either. It feels like the ending was changed at the last minute and very hastily rewritten.
But to be honest, it wasn’t as if the original plot had much interesting going on. It was all very dry and very dull. Basically Kenny discovers the gold, there’s a tussle between him and businessman Brian Woolf (Corey Stoll, Ant-Man) but you don’t pay attention because it’s dry Wall Street stuff that should stay behind closes doors, and then there’s a lot of success.
The success is not even interesting either, as it’s basically Kenny going to parties. Not particularly interesting parties like Jordan Belfort would end up at where a senator would snort a bucketful of cocaine before playing beer pong on a stripper’s back, just random bland shindigs which even I’d look in place at. And I’m a boring man who spends his evenings watching films like Gold.
And that is a big problem with Gold, it fails to be interesting in any way. It doesn’t really offer much new or different. We have a lot of movies about the perils of Wall Street whether it is the movie of the same name or the one about a wolf that is in the street and so to stand out, you need to do something interesting. And this movie simply doesn’t. For most of the film we are in crappy looking offices where we are thrown from boring plot point to boring plot point. The only time I was moderately interested was when a tiger showed up because tigers at least that was something pretty cool.
This film isn’t the worst thing in the world I will admit because everyone here is at least trying. All the actors involved do put in decent performances and you can tell that McConaughey is really going for it. The only reason I didn’t fall asleep watching this movie was because he was really trying to bring his character to life. He is basically the best part of the movie other than the tiger.
But even so, this isn’t enough because not many performances break out to make this truly memorable. I like Corey Stoll but he’s been stuck as this sort of character for a while and he seems bored with it. But most shockingly, I saw on IMDB that Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World) was in this. And even though I tend to enjoy her in many of the roles she does, I just can’t remember her here. I mean female characters aren’t exactly the movie’s focus, it isn’t passing the Bechdel Test that’s for sure, but you’d think I could remember and notice such a good actress. What a waste.
Unlike the Spandeu Ballet song of the same name which is lively, memorably and sure to live on forever, Gold will be forgotten as soon as the credits start to roll. It’s not terrible, I do feel like I’ve been very cruel to it in this review, as it is well made and nothing is actively poor in this movie. It didn’t annoy me like some have done this year but it also gave me no reason to enjoy it or engage in what they were showing me. All that glitters isn’t… Oh you know.