Plot: What’s it about?
You have to hand it to Matthew McConaughey. He really gives himself to the role. His commitment is very admirable. It isn’t unlike that of Russel Crowe. He put on the pounds for this role and appears slightly balding on top as well. He gives another solid performance even if the film isn’t the most memorable of his. There are some great elements here, but the film isn’t quite the home-run I was hoping it would be.
Gold tells the fact-based story of Kenny Wells (McConaughey) as a businessman in search of some serious loot. His father handed him down his business which he’s almost run to the ground. He has a girlfriend, Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard) and hopes to earn serious money to live the good life with her. He learns of some gold in Indonesia where he plans to recruit a friend and some men to help him dig for it. Wells gets a case of malaria, but is still successful in recovering the gold. It’s everything after this discovery where the trouble soon begins. A Wall Street bank makes Wells a huge offer, which he declines over a minute dispute over an issue that would remove his name from the deal. Needless to say, he soon regrets the decision. We follow the pretty familiar rise and fall of a man who comes across a large fortune. Those unfamiliar with the true story (like myself) will be a bit surprised by where the film goes. The overall story is a bit predictable, but there are moments that’ll take one by surprise.
Gold might bring up echoes of Wall Street and The Wolf of Wall Street, but it’s a lot different than most might expect as well. The film’s trailers hinted at a different type of film. The end result is something a bit more low key and scaled back. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think some audiences will be expecting something much different than what they get. The film passes the time well enough, but never quite achieves greatness. The acting is fine, especially from McConaughey in the lead, but it leaves something to be desired. I think maybe it could’ve used a bit more flair or wit. It isn’t that it’s ever boring or dull. It’s just not quite as entertaining as a film like this should be. It’s also possible that we’ve seen this type of film before, and Gold falls somewhere in the middle.
Video: How’s it look?
Shot mainly in Thailand, Gold does have a very unique look and feel to it. The 2.40:1 AVC HD image certainly isn’t lacking in detail, color and depth. The images are sharp as a tack. Take a look at McConaughey’s balding hairline or his “not so perfect” teeth – this might be an instance in which clarity isn’t that much of a good thing. Contrast is strong, blacks are deep and when your main character pets a tiger, you’ll want it to look as good as it can. Indicative of a new to Blu-ray title, Gold is where it’s at.
Audio: How’s it sound?
A DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack has been included and used, to good extent. There’s a bevy of sounds at work here ranging from the jungle, to the city’s traffic. Even bugs and insects make the film come alive. Dialogue is without any distortion and McConaughey’s trademark “twang” can still be heard in a few scenes. It’s a rich, textured mix that’s sure to please.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Director Stephen Gaghan gives a very technical-minded commentary track. Details on the shoot, “keeping the facts straight” and some other location-based items are discussed.
- Deleted Sequence – More than a brief deleted scene, this is an extended version of a deleted scene. Why they chose to call it a sequence is beyond me.
- The Origins of Gold – Gaghan expands on this in his commentary, but this is as the name entails – a look at the story’s origin, and how it translated to screen.
- The Locations of Gold – The film, shot mainly in Thailand, is explored.
- Matthew McConaughey as Kenny Wells – If you’ve ever wanted to see a chubby, balding version of Matthew McConaughey, well here’s where the cast and crew can comment (safely, of course).
The Bottom Line
Neither a dud nor a home-run, Gold has signs of becoming a great film, but never quite gets there. The performances are all top notch, and the main story is intriguing, but the execution could be better. Overall, it’s worthy of a rental.