Based on a true story of Gold prospectors in the 1980’s who find the biggest vein of Gold ever. Matthew McConaughey stars as Kenny Wells, part of a family business of prospectors who after the death of his Father has a streak of bad luck. When no investor will touch any prospect that he finds and he’s about to lose everything he has a dream and takes a chance on outside geologist Michael Acosta, played by ever more handsome by the day performer Edgar Ramirez. They travel to Indonesia and work their way through difficult terrain, no cash, and illness to find the biggest deposit of Gold that anyone has found in the 1900’s.
The film takes a down on his luck prospector and business man, trying to keep the family name alive, his friends in jobs, and his ever-loving girlfriend happy, and places him in a last-ditch attempt to save his career and reputation. McConaughey is okay as Kenny Wells, not a particularly nice character, but you understand his need to keep going. While Ramirez plays Acosta as the brooding and sexy geologist who has a hunch about where to find the gold. Howard is lost in the role of the ever-loving girlfriend to Wells. As we travel through the highs, lows, highs, and outright destruction of Wells’ career it’s hard to feel for the characters.
We’d all make that judgement call where we’d say 180 million dollars, that’s where I come out, I’ll go live on an island and be waited on day and night. But Wells wants to be like his Father and continue the family name. When the poop hits the fan and everything falls apart we’re left slapping ourselves on the forehead wondering why he didn’t just get out.
It’s not a complicated story, it’s easy enough to follow, and there is nothing overly wrong with the film, and there is the problem.
This film felt, straight from the start, as the poor man’s Wolf of Wall Street. There is nothing overly wrong with the film but it just doesn’t hit the way the Leo vehicle did. Everything here is fine and that is the problem, it’s just fine, you believe that in reality they had just as much sex and drugs as the Wall Street boys and girls but we’re just not going for that. What we are presented with is more a cast that want to win awards than a fun telling of story. Even in saying that we are not given the performances that would qualify for roles, which is odd considering Bryce Dallas Howard, McConaughey, and Ramirez are all aboard. For me it was fine, just fine, I’d sit and watch it on a Saturday night while I’m typing up a piece of writing I have to get through, but it wouldn’t be one of those once a year films for me.
I can tell you that in a time where every dollar counts and the rising cost of going to see a movie you get more picky about what you see. Knowing what I know I couldn’t honestly say that I would pick to go see this in a cinema. If it were on Netflix or just normal TV I’d probably watch it again. The problem is that just looking at the poster, or if you are that way, watching a trailer, it could sell me into going to see this in a cinema. At the end of the day, and the end of this review, it’s just one of the most average films I’ve ever seen. I doubt we’ll see that on any posters!
Director: Stephen Gaghan
Writers: Patrick Massett, John Zinman
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramírez, Bryce Dallas Howard