Film Review: Gold (Stephen Gaghan, 2017) ★★★½

9 comments
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Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) is a prospector down on his luck. Having teamed up with a similarly eager geologist (Edgar Ramírez), the pair travel to the uncharted jungle of Indonesia in search of gold. However, keeping hold of their winnings proves to be difficult when they find themselves battling the boardrooms of Wall Street.

Gold review
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Having earned himself an Oscar for Dallas Buyer’s Club (Jean-Marc Vallée, 2013) and delved in to strong character pieces; McConaughey has hit a fair few home-runs in recent years. Gold sees him star in yet another biopic which, he claims, is his most favourite role to date. Directed by Stephen Gaghan, Gold presents McConaughey in one of his most extreme character transformations to date; complete with comb over, fake teeth and belly. Loosely inspired by the true events of David Walsh and the Bre-X scandal, the film follows a third generation prospector in the 1980s who dreams of finding gold in the jungles of Indonesia. Having staked his last dollar on tracking down Michael Acosta (Ramirez) and assembling a work force to dig, we follow the pair’s rollercoaster journey from rags to riches; to Wall Street and scandal. 

Gold Film 2017 review
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On paper, Gold has all the foundations and the performances which should have encouraged awards attention yet somehow it falls short. Despite a perfectly reasonable narrative and structure, there are times when the story feels restricted. Whilst there are unexpected twists and turns, it is somewhat of a slow burner to reach them. As spectators, our commitment is invested instead towards McConaughey’s believable portrayal of Kenny - a mesmerising performance as an erratic “drunk racoon”. Although sometimes a dislikeable character, he is relatable and holds our attention. He is the glue which holds the film together. 

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Presented as a tale of the all American Dream, the Wall Street corporate bankers are the antagonists – stomping on Kenny’s aspirations. While Kenny seeks their acceptance and is reliant on the investment from Brian (Corey Stoll of House of Cards), behind his back they mock him. Kenny’s wife, Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard, is quick to pick up on this and is unable to cope with strain in the new world she and her husband have found themselves in. This ultimately presents the depth in this narrative alongside Kenny’s determination throughout his setbacks. Having imagined gold in his whiskey-soaked dreams, Kenny and Mike are the real heroes as they attempt to make their own mark on the world. Later on in the film, Kenny mentioned that he was never in it for the money – he just “loved the chase”. 

Kenny Wells Gold
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As it to be one big middle finger to capitalism, Gold brings to mind such films as The Big Short (Adam McKay, 2015) in that it presents a story, based on actual events, with a message of corporate greed - whilst also making you laugh. Unfortunately, Gold is not quite worthy of any golden statues but it is certainly worth the watch and undoubtedly entertaining. McConaughey yet again shows his diversity and delivers a stellar performance alongside Bryce Dallas Howard, in this sometimes witty drama with soul.  Gold gets a Sophie star rating of 3.5 stars - please do see it if you get the chance. 

Gold is in cinemas from the 3rd February 2017 - will you be giving it a watch? What do you make of it? As always, I love reading your comments so please do leave me lots of lovely ones below. Big thanks to The Weinstein Company for allowing me to see this great film ahead of release. 

Until next time movie lovers,





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9 comments:

  1. The makeup department did a good job of turning Matthew McConaughey's looks average from that last pic you posted. I generally believe in the free market system but I see its flaws and how it can go awry. In the Prague Spring of the 1968, Alexander Dubcek had a slogan of "socialism with a human face". I want capitalism to have a human face (if that is possible). But some people are unsavory regardless of the economic system they espouse.

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    1. I think a lot of it was down to the weight loss but I agree, the hair is very convincing - I still can't work out whether they shaved his head or not. Is there a free market system for gold though? I assumed it had always had a market value based on the weight? Perhaps Donald Trump could be the face of Captialism? I feel it fits the bill :)

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  2. In the UK, gold (and silver) are traded on the London Bullion Market, which is an OTC market which means that buyer and seller make the transaction between themselves and agree on a price rather than having an exchange determine the price for them. Other metals (like aluminium) are traded on the LME (London Metal Exchange which is now owned by the Chinese) which is an exchange where spot (current) and futures prices are determined and forward contracts are established (where a buyer takes delivery of a certain amount of metal for a certain price in the future).

    Trump is a terrible face for capitalism. I learned a term called "sharp practice" in the UK about dishonest business practices and I think that Trump University's practices fit that term. I watched You've Been Trumped where Trump's company shut off the power and water of senior citizens because they would not sell their property to him. It was just terrible. Have you seen the documentary, Sophie? Other than Trump there are plenty of honest business people who pay their suppliers on time and follow good business practices and follow the labor laws. Even before the era of Russian oligarchs, the USSR had an elite system where the "Nomenkatura" took most of the benefits for themselves so that shows how socialism can go awry as well.

    Oh, I just noticed your message about a digital episode of the London Film Club. Sorry for not replying to you on it. Wow, I'd love one. By area, do you mean country? I'm in the US when I don't have to travel to Canada. You can use tumblr's message system which now allows for links if you want to. I hope you have a good week ahead, Sophie!

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    1. Ah I see.

      I have seen it - yes. There's actually a second documentary by the same team and the director was discussing at an event I went to hosted by Mark Kermode. This was back in the Summer and he said people needed to stop taking Trump as a joke because he had a strong chance of winning so to take him seriously. And look what happened.

      London Live is London only channel which is only shown within a certain mile radius so people outside of London are unable to see it. I have a digital copy however so I can email that to you, I don't actually use Tumblr anymore. You too - thank you :)

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  3. I was hoping you would be reviewing this Sophie. I saw your photos and video of Matthew McConaughey on your Twitter, that must have been so exciting! What was he like in real life? I'm excited to see this as I know what a fantastic actor he is. I don't know anything of the true events which will keep it a surprise :)

    Ashley xx
    http://www.imamovienerd.wordpress.com

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    1. Thank you! Yeah he honestly had like a golden glow - he was just amazing to listen to. I'm a huge fan of his so it was amazing. The film was great but he is really want carries it and makes it successful. I love him haha xx

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  4. Annoyingly I think I've missed this! Although it was only out a few weeks ago it's now only mid week during the day showings which I can't make! I hate when films are muscled out by things like fifty shades - I know loads of people want to see it but do they really need 23 showings a day!!!?! Hopefully I'll get to see Gold soon - have trainspotting and Hacksaw Ridge booked to see over the next few nights xx

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    1. Yeah I'm so surprised how little distribution it's had?? I've been trying to see loads of Oscar movies and some of them have just disappeared ever a week or two. Same here, they're all on at like 13.00 or 17.00 when I'm at work! Fingers crossed, hope you get a chance to see it! I'm aiming to see Jackie, Lion and Moonlight over the next two weeks :) xx

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    2. I've seen Jackie and Lion - both great! Moonlight is on my list to see too! Xx

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