Friday, January 27, 2017



Film Review by Fiore 

GOLD is a good movie that sabotages its own presentation.  It’s an interesting look into events that rocked the mining investment field during the 1980’s.  The story is intriguing and compelling.  The presentation, however, suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous Hollywood production mores.

Matthew McConaughey plays Kenny Wells.  McConaughey is practically unrecognizable in this role.  He presents Wells as a very unlikeable character, so audience empathy with his trials is difficult.  Wells is a successful mining investor and prospector.  He works with his father, played by Craig T. Nelson, for Washoe Corporation.  The family business is a small, but lucrative one.  Unfortunately, with the turn of the market, Kenny soon loses his father, his house and his company. 
His only constant through this turmoil is his love, Kay, played by Bryce Dallas Howard.  Bryce is a compelling actress.  I want to like her, and believe she possesses great talent, but she has yet to play a role in which she validates the thespian prowess I believe she possesses. 

As Kenny is on his last penny, he opts for one last gamble, teaming with a rogue geologist, Michael Acosta, played by Edgar Ramirez.  Ramirez is quickly compounding his value in Tinseltown.  After his powerful performance in HANDS OF STONE, he has appeared solidly in prominent roles in the JASON BOURNE series, THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN and is set to appear in Robert DeNiro’s next project.

Together, Wells and Acosta, discover what promises to be the largest gold mine ever discovered in Indonesia.  The strike solidifies Acosta’s reputation, brings the Washoe Company back to full status and makes a millionaire of Wells.  This is when the corporate sharks swim in, led by Brian Woolf, played by Corey Stoll.  It seems the only time Stoll can play a protagonist in on the TV series THE STRAIN.  On celluloid, he is doomed to be the cad; and he does it so well.

Whatever turmoil Wells and Acosta encountered in Indonesia pales in comparison to the dangers of New York bank investors.  GOLD is a riches to pauper to hero to goat story with a felonious conclusion.  Rounding out the cast are Joshua Harto; Timothy Simons; Michael Landes; Toby Kebbell; Bruce Greenwood; Stacy Keach; and Rachel Taylor.




GOLD has a storied history, which may account for its presentation problems.  The film was first proposed in 2011 as a type of modern THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE, the Humphrey Bogart classic.    Michael Mann was set to helm the project, with Christian Bale and Michelle Williams to star.  A little over a year later, Mann left the project to work on other films and was replaced by Spike Lee.  From there, the project went south.  It is rumored Bale did not like Lee’s direction nor attitude and left the film.  That opened the door for McConaughey.  More folk agreed Lee wasn’t right for this project, and he was replaced by Stephen Gaghan.  After filming began, Gaghan became disillusioned with Williams, and though production was underway, she was replaced by Howard.  Howard fits nicely into this role, and it is speculated the part of Kay underwent serious rewrites from Williams to Howard.  While many films undergo changes in personnel, this one appears to be based on the film’s personality.  Kudos to Jo Boldin and Avy Kaufman for selecting the final cast, especially for the addition of Ramirez.

Daniel Pemberton provides a solid score and the photography of Robert Elswit is sublime.  Like too many movies, GOLD is too long.  At least 30 minutes could be eliminated making the story less melancholic in the second act.  Once again, a team is to blame.  Douglas Crise and Rick Grayson (no relation to Dick, who now prowls the night in Gotham with the Dark Knight) are used as a team to edit GOLD.  I’ll say again, while incorporating more than one editor helps create more jobs on a production, it ultimately destroys the film’s image.  The ending of GOLD is worthwhile, but it is rather a struggle to sit long enough to arrive there.

To tell the story, Screenwriters Patrick Massett and John Zinman unveil the plot in chronological sequence.  While sensible, there are too many scenes which only serve to accentuate elements detailed in previous scenes.  

A better, more concentrated effort on the script, and the film’s editing, would have made for a stronger cinema experience.


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