Gold is a film which depicts the human hunger for unparalleled, near-impossible opportunities, which are perhaps too good to be true.
It is based on the true events of the 1990s mining scandal that shook Wall Street into an uncontrolled frenzy, from which subsequent wreckage was suffered by innocent and naïve average people following this fruitless dream. Matthew McConaughey plays Kenny Wells, a man weathered harshly by disappointment and failure, which his physical appearance mirrors. He decides, after having a dream of striking gold in Indonesia, to put everything he has left into a last-ditch attempt. Even selling his girlfriend Kay’s (Bryce Dallas Howard) watch to send himself to the doorstep of the infamous geologist Michael Acosta (Édgar Ramírez) and his ‘Ring of Fire theory’. What ensues is the pursuit of two dreamers, who believed in what was out there, when there was nothing out there.
The film raises the question of how far people will follow the whisper of a dream, and how little they will investigate it, because in the end they so want the magic to be true.
Perhaps the electricity of the film comes from the subtle performance of Ramírez, who gives the dream back to the desperate and deluded fantasist Wells. These rogue underdogs were to change the face of not only the prospective community but also the economic market.
However, the film is not just about the pursuit of gold, it is more an exploration of the human condition and our desire to harvest the natural world to its bone. Matthew McConaughey’s performance, whilst highly charismatic and energetic, only touched on the surface of the emotional intimacy it had the potential of reaching.
The very landscape itself almost acted as its own separate entity: the ruggedness and sweeping beauty of the Indonesian mountains was an effective visual contrast to the blaring, materialistic Wall Street. The cinematography of the film was nuanced and detailed in its portrayal of the all-consuming search for gold. The film itself is not a cynical tale, rather it is an optimistic one about the human spirit and its courage to pursue the unknown.