Blu-ray Review: Gold

I went into Gold with very little expectations. The story of a modern day gold prospector didn’t grab me, even if the film did contain another transformative performance by Matthew McConaughey (he gained over 40 lbs for this film, vs the 40 plus he lost for Dallas Buyers Club as well as went bald). However the director is Stephan Gaghan, whose last film was Syriana (2005), so how bad could it be?

Loosely based on a true story, Gold tells the tale of Kenny Wells (McConaughey), who runs a dying prospecting company. One night he has a dream of a location in Indonesia, so he sets off to find geologist Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez), who had previously ruined his reputation with crack pot theories about where to find gold. Kenny tells Mike that he believes in him so they set out into the jungle to make their dreams a reality.

After near death bout with malaria, Kenny wakes up to good news, Mike has found gold, possibly one of the biggest gold mines ever! They head back to America with their good fortune and that’s when everything goes crazy. To spell out anymore of the plot at this point would do the film a disservice, it’s best to be experienced.

McConaughey may have transformed himself for the roll of Kenny, but I think the real star of this film is Ramirez. He makes Mike Acosta a very interesting character. McConaughey does what McConaughey does and Mike holds his own with his acting parter perfectly.

The film itself is okay. It’s not bad by any means, but it’s not great either. I think one problem I had was that it felt at many times like a watered down version of The Wolf of Wall Street. Don’t get me wrong, they are very different movies telling very different stories, but I couldn’t help but notice some similarities and I found them distracting.

The best part of the film is the mostly obscure 80s soundtrack featuring bands like Television and Orange Juice, with some quality hits by Joy Division, New Order and Pixies thrown in. Then you get to top it off with the Golden Globe nominated original song “Gold” sung by Iggy Pop. It certainly makes for a quality soundtrack, but I found it distracting at times. The music did not always fit the vibe of the movie and seemed like it was mostly there to remind us that this was an 80s movie.
In the end I enjoyed the film much more than I thought I would, but I’m still hard pressed to call it a good movie. I feel like in a months time I’ll have mostly forgotten about it. That said, I didn’t feel like it was a waste of time either. It’s obviously a well made movie with quality acting and great production value. Nothing about it feels like a bad movie, but it never quite hits emotionally in the way you think it should have.

The film is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio and Dolby 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. This is a great looking film, but I had some problem with the sound mixing. I had to turn on my subtitles because I found a lot of the dialog hard to understand. Also the parts where the music kicked up were so loud I had to keep turning the volume up and down throughout the film.

Extras include: Deleted Scenes (5 min.) The Origins of Gold (4 min.) The Locations of Gold (4 min.) Matthew McConaughey as Kenny Wells (4 min.) Director Stephen Gaghan Audio Commentary.

Going into Gold I had zero expectations. The fact that I didn’t hate it speaks volumes, I can’t emphasize that enough. But by no means did it wow me. Ultimately, I’m glad I saw it, but I’d be hard pressed to recommend it to anyone outside hard cord McConaughey fans. Like one friend asked me: “is the McConaissance over?” I for one hope not.

Anchor Bay presents Gold. Written by Patrick Massett & John Zinman. Directed by Stephen Gaghan. Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez and Bryce Dallas Howard. Running time: 120 min. Rating: R for language throughout and some sexuality/nudity. Released on Blu-Ray: May 2, 2017.

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