Gold is, by far, the oddest film of the Oscar season. It's not good enough to be featured with some other award-based films yet it is far from being a bad film. It's just a very uninspired piece of filmmaking that had an excellent script and a great cast to it, yet no flavor to the filmmaking here. It is a standardized piece that serves as a lackluster love letter to Martin Scorsese and David O. Russell without ever really admitting it. Majority of this film is spent watching McCounaughey's Kenny Wells as he maneuvers through businessmen that want him to be put down, political groups that want to steal his fortune and friends he can barely trust. It sounds like an amazing film and it could have been had Gaghan not directed this film himself. Every frame that passes, it feels like Gaghan was either worried about feeling too much like Scorsese or worried that it wasn't enough like Scorsese. Either way, we know where his influences lie here. Honestly, you're better off watching The Wolf of Wall Street, if you're hoping for something like that. Stephen Gaghan is a very talented writer, he's given us very layered stories with very interesting characters but this particular topic feels like it went over his head. It is never engaging enough to sustain lasting power. McConaughey and the rest of the cast do a fine job, nothing outstanding but fine nonetheless. This was probably the most disappointing part of this film. Over the past 5 years, Matthew McConaughey has given us more than enough reason to love his performances. They're layered, they're relate-able and, most of all, they're acted to perfection. This performance, in which he trades in his slim physique for a bloated, overweight and balding man. Right off the bat, this may have been a physically demanding role for McConaughey and he does put his all into his performance but it still doesn't match the caliber of his previous performances. His dedication is clear but it still didn't feel like the great performance we thought he could give in this film which comes back to the issue of Gaghan's direction. Overall, Gold is far from a bad movie. There are cool scenes in it that are bound to interest you even if it's for a little bit. But this is a film that comes down to a problem with the director. Gaghan, while being a very talented writer, has a hard time determining his own vision for a film that had many chances to be great but failed to really capitalize on any of its strengths. By the end of the film, you won't feel cheated out of your ticket money but I'm sure you won't feel all that good about it either.
Kenny Wells, a modern-day prospector, hustler, and dreamer, is desperate for a lucky break. Left with few options, Wells teams up with an equally luckless geologist to execute a grandiose, last-ditch effort: to find gold deep in the uncharted jungle of Indonesia.