Saturday, 11 February 2017

#14 GOLD

Starring Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll, Toby Kebbell, Craig T. Nelson and Bruce Greenwood. Written by Patrick Massett and John Zinman. Directed by Stephen Gaghan. Running time 121 minutes. Budget unknown. Certificate 15.

Based on the Bre-X scandal of the 1990s, this film follows prospector Kenny Welles, a man once riding high, now running his mining company out of a bar. Following a dream where he finds gold in the rain forests of Indonesia, Kenny (Matthew McConaughey) pawns the last few things of value he has and jets off to convince visionary geologist, Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez) to help him find the gold he dreamed of. When the pair strike it big the film follows their rollercoaster rise to fame and fortune, while their inevitable fall lurks in the shadows like a foul fart in an elevator.

Matthew is an impressive actor and I've always liked him and his GIGANTIC, HUGE, MASSIVE SQUARE HEAD but alas the fact that in this new film it fills almost every scene is part of the problem with it. You see normally Matt's head is quite lovely to look at, but in this it's massive, sweaty, topped with a hideous bald spot and blotchy. Plus he spends every second he's on screen sucking on cigarettes and supping huge tumblers filled with whisky, to remind us each and every second that his character, Kenny is a smoker and alcoholic. After awhile it becomes not only jarring but downright distracting. You find yourself wondering how much he's spending on booze and fags. And what he could afford if only he'd stop. But this film isn't about people stopping, it's about excess, it's about greed, it's about little people getting fucked over by corporate American and in that respect it's like Wolf of Wall St., which it so wants to be compared with. Alas this isn't a patch on that far better film.

While McConaughey brings his AAA+++ acting game to the table the other actors try for a naturalistic approach and both schools sort of clash, with McConaughey blasting everyone off the screen with his INTENSE method school approach and it's frankly exhausting to watch, it's just relentless, overwhelming and just too damn much.

That coupled with the story which just isn't really that great, it sort of skims on stuff and finally ends up being a boardroom squabble as super rich buisness men argue and bitch. And it's hard to truly connect with a film where the lead character's only ambition is to be rich. When the inevitable collapse happens and the little investors are robbed of all their savings and we discover that the mining company that Kenny set up has been plundered by his partner and that billions of dollars have been lost there's never any sense that we should feel sorry for the little man, only in Kenny.

The film has one final, rather offensive little sting in its tail which it can only get away with because it's based on truth and not a telling of the true story of Bre-X. When Kenny discovers that his ex partner has absconded with over hundred million dollars he is interviewed by the FBI and found to have nothing to do with what happened and released. The film ends with him reunited with his ex girlfriend, whom he dumped because she didn't want to share in his dreams of greed, and opening up an airmail letter from Acosta containing a check for tens of millions of dollars. The film ends with  Kenny smiling, because he's achieved his goal of striking it rich.

You'll come for McConaughey and stay to count the fags he smokes and the booze he consumes. but sadly this film is all bluster and bullshit, it's like a chocolate coin, wrapped in gold foil, once you've eaten the coin all you're left with is the gold foil, there's no substance, a bit like Kenny and Acosta's gold claim.


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