HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:79
Gold, the very heart and soul of Hollywood, and one of the most highly sought after precious metals on the planet. We love it on watches, on rings, on earrings, and all sorts of bling that adorn our everyday life, and the more you have of it, the less happy you seem to be (ironic, isn’t it?). Gold bullion used to back the U.S. dollar it was so sought after, but now it’s lost a lot of its worth as paper money is printed without backing. However, gold has had an upswing in value over the last few decades as less and less of it is being found every day. Back in 1988 it was considered a rare thing to find a new gold mine, and the story about Bre-X and their wondrous find in the jungles of Borneo rocked the headlines of the U.S. market, only to find out later that it was an elaborate scam. When I heard that they were making a movie about Bre-X and Michael de Guzman I was enthralled, especially when I heard that Edgar Ramirez and Matthew McConaughey was involved, as I love both of them. Heavy liberties have been taken with the incidents, but the general premise is still there and just as captivating. Sadly, the movie takes a bit too much of “real life” and the movie starts to peter out in the end of the film with a Hollywood ending that feels a bit too glib and fake for what just happened on screen.
Much of the EVENTS in the film have been fictionalized, but as I said, the core of what happened is still the same. Back in 1988 (in the film that is, it was 1993 in real life) Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) is on the verge of bankruptcy. He has run his father’s mining business into the ground and is basically working out of a bar to make ends meet. He’s on his last few dollars and even that is going to fund his heavy alcohol habit. For some strange reason his gorgeous girlfriend Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard) is still sticking with him. In a drunken dream, Kenny believes that he has found the answer. A place where no one else has drilled so far. The jungles of Indonesia. Finding a well-known geologist who had just discovered the biggest copper find in the last few decades named Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez), Kenny sets out to Indonesia to have Acosta find his dream of gold. Pawning everything he has and borrowing everything he can think of, Kenny funds the geologist’s trip and off they go.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=96482[/img]Things are a bit rough (Kenny ends up surviving a dose of malaria), and when things are at their worst the world changes for the better. Acosta confirms that they’ve struck the BIG ONE. A gold mine that hasn’t been seen as this rich in multiple decades. Now the greasy, pudgy, nobody of a mining owner has become one of the single richest men in the world with access to the biggest gold mine of the last 30 years. Kenny and Acosta go from rags to riches with everyone and their mother wanting in on their business venture. Sharks start circling the water as they make ready to swallow the small fry, but Kenny is ADAMANT that he is going to ride this thing to the very top. No real help, just pure will power and gumption bringing him and his partner to the richest strike of the decade. However, just as things are getting to the very tip top of the peak, something changes in the game, and the whole house of cards coming crashing down.
“Gold” is an intriguing film, and was based off of one of the biggest mining scams in the history of the business. I won’t go into TOO much detail of how things went off the rails, but sufficed to say that it was a shocking turn of events that was facilitated by human greed and the desire to look the other way when so much money was on the line. Kind of like BP oil, this could have been prevented (and billions of dollars not lost) if someone had managed to look at all the red flags and just slow down for a minute). The thing is, the movie doesn’t translate THAT well from real life to screen. In fact, it’s kind of slow and would have probably been a rather boring movie had it not been for the two leads. Edgar Ramirez is adept at playing the role of the frustrated geologies, but it’s McConaughey that really steals the show. Matthew has gone through such a transformation over the years that he reminds me of Ben Affleck. Playing the pretty boy roles in his younger career that garnered himself the stigma of being a fluff actor. After falling out of grace with the public he reinvented himself as an actor and has been POURING himself into new roles with a rabid gusto. He completely immerses himself here into the role of Kenny Walsh, to the extent where I feel that this is the role that stretched his acting abilities to new heights, even above and beyond what he did with “Dallas Buyers Club”. He gained weight, made himself looking balding, and just absorbed himself into the role of a greasy and sleazy little businessman who was on his last legs. Watching him is really what gives the movie it’s kinetic energy for the first 2/3rds of the movie. Ramirez pairs off well with the erratic mining owner and the two of them display some amazing chemistry on screen. The ONLY thing that I didn’t buy was some of the cheesy Hollywood additions (like the ending) and the fact that a guy like Kenny had a woman as good looking as Bryce Dallas Howard.
Rated R for language throughout and some sexuality/nudity
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=96490[/img]“Gold” is one of the few films left that is ACTUALLY filmed on….well….film. Using 35mm Kodak film and mastering at a 2K resolution DI, “Gold’ looks incredibly organic and well textured. The detail can sometimes get murky with some strangely soft shots, but it has the look and feel of old time FILM. Colors are laden with a golden hue (I had to have a chuckle at that considering the title) to mimic the period piece time of the 1980s, and while there is a LOT of incredibly well done textures, it is intermingled with some strangely soft and grainy shots as well. You can see the sweat dripping off of Kenny and Michael’s faces in the Indonesian jungles, and the Reno, Nevada office rooms look crisp and well defined. The soft shots that I mentioned come out of nowhere and can range from mildly soft to almost blurry (the most noticeable two being an obvious shot in Indonesia where Mike and Kenny sign the napkin contract and the camera focuses on Edgar Ramirez’s face, and the second most notable one being where Kenny walks into Kay’s house at the end of the film and the camera pans back). Black levels are deep and inky, with some grain showing up in the picture, but overall looking clean and clear with a great amount of that 35mm texture that gives the film such an organic feeling.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=96498[/img]For a dramatic film, I REALLY wasn’t expecting anything more than your average front heavy mix. I was astonished to be completely wrong as “Gold” comes with a stellar 5.1 DTS-HD MA track that has an expansive soundstage despite the dialog heavy nature of the movie. The score flows and opens up the sound stage quite neatly with a wide dynamic range and the ability to hear pinpoint sounds coming from the drum and string based music. Even the jungle is awash with the sounds of raindrops hitting the roof in the background, or the clanking of the drilling equipment humming along. Dialog is still clean and clear, although sometimes Edgar Ramirez’s accent would cause me to flip on the subtitles (which is nothing of fault in the encode, but more me having a hard time with the way he speaks). LFE is deep and throbbing, adding power to the drilling equipment and more than enough low end for the score.
• Deleted Sequence
• Feature Audio Commentary with Director Stephen Gaghan
• The Origins of Gold Featurette
• The Locations of Gold Featurette
• Matthew McConaughey as Kenny Wells Featurette
“Gold” is a film that really shouldn’t be that good, but is elevated by the performances of its two main leads. Based off of a true story, the film takes quite a few liberties, but never seems to really go anywhere, leaving us with a slightly dissatisfactory ending. However, Matthew and Edgar do an INCREDIBLE job at immersing themselves in the role and actually make the first 2/3rds of the film infections and completely entertaining. It’s not until just before the twist near beginning of the third act that things start to slow down and feel a bit too predictable. Lionsgate’s Blu-ray package is solid, with good video, GREAT audio and a decent supplements package. While “Gold” is not going to win an Oscar, it certainly makes for an entertaining watch. Solid Rental in my opinion.
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez, Bryce Dallas Howard
Directed by: Stephen Gaghan
Written by: Patrick Massett, John Zinman
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 120 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 2nd 2017
Buy Gold On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Solid Rental
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