In his younger days the Editor was a vociferous campaigner for a local issues (or as we liked to call him, ‘a right moaning old git’) and to this end one of the problems he wanted addressed was dog fouling. In an effort to highlight the problem he took an aerosol can of gold paint and would spray the offending dog poo with a lustrous golden sheen. The idea came to him after seeing Rod Stewart in concert.
The idea that all that glistens is not gold is at the centre of this week’s new release ‘Gold’ a title which we last had back in 1974 starring a early Bond era Roger Moore as a gold mine manager. Here though rather than having an orange faced man waddling around and raising an eyebrow in shock/anger/joy it’s the normally lithe and handsome Matthew McConaughey. Except here he isn’t having gone out of his way to lose his matinee idol looks. Initially we first met him in 1981 suited and booted with wife played by Bryce Dallas Howard with frizzy hair and a homebody appearance yet still looks good. McConaughey is a speculative gold prospector and investment manager who, seven years later, having lost his job finds his career in the doldrums. The actor has gone full DeNiro/ Raging Bull era for the 1987 period the film covers. Pot bellied, dishevelled, uneven yellow teeth, hard drinking, chainsmoker and a thinning comb over to the point of baldness, its a world away from his role in Magic Mike. Desperate to regain his career he teams up with a geologist (Edgar Ramirez) in Indonesia who has already made preliminary tests that indicate gold in a densely forested area. Pooling his own money as well as investors from his old company they plough their money into preliminary mining and soil analysis and hit gold. It’s only then that the big investors start taking interest for a slice of the action with McConaughey resisting their offers. This is his baby and he aims to be as big a player in the industry as they are.
With a music score that includes the 80’s music of Manchester band New Order it drags you into McConaughey’s euphoria when he hits the jackpot and it’s only when the film momentarily leaps forward to him being interviewed by Toby Kebbell’s investigator that the first inkling that something bad is about to happen. Even his wife suspects that all may not go well for him when they meet up with big money investors she warns him that, ‘these guys are going to tear you up’ but McConaughey’s character is almost wilfully blind as to what’s about to happen.
This is one of those inspired by a true story films and what usually makes ‘the fact is stranger than fiction’ element that makes true life stories almost unbelievable here is not really a surprise and its really McConaughey’s performance that really drives the film with his obsession to be a success but by the end of the second act it does become a little flat and loses pace. Whether this is because director Stephen Gaghan, who wrote the great Steven Soderburgh film ‘Traffic’ as well as George Clooney’s ‘Syriana’, yet has not directed a feature film for ten years is anyone’s guess ( take a look at our YouTube channel to see what McConaughey told us) but ultimately this is a vehicle for McConaughey who has committed totally to transforming himself into the character and over the past few years the actor has started taking far more pleasing challenging roles regardless of how much he has to physically transform himself. This is one of them.
Here’s the trailer…….