Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) is a modern day prospector, hustler and dreamer, desperate for a lucky break. In desperation, he teams up with a luckless geologist Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez) for one last effort - to find gold in the uncharted jungle of Indonesia.
Review by Louise Keller:
The elements are promising: Matthew McConaughey as we have never seen him before and an amazing true story about dreams and gold. But, the film never fires, largely due to a screenplay that seems to be in a hurry, never managing to properly establish the characters, relationships or let us understand the minutiae in a story where detail is everything. The dialogue is hard to decipher, too. The story however, is a rollercoaster ride that defies logic by the number of times fortunes change. Syriana director Stephen Gaghan places the stamp of efficiency on the film, but I walked away feeling dissatisfied.
Seven years after a brief prologue set in Nevada, 1981 in which Kenny Wells (McConaughey) takes over the family mining company from his father, Kenny starts to lose everything. His hair, money, house and hope. McConaughey attacks the role of the disheveled, balding, bucktoothed and pot-bellied gold prospector with such gusto, that his characterization is the pivot around which everything else revolves. He also drinks, smokes and wears white Yfronts. He is repulsive, yet endearing in some way and McConaughey embodies the character from the outside in.
When he rings geologist Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez) in a last ditch effort to satisfy his dream to find gold, his description of himself (wearing a brown suit, sitting on a green couch and being good looking) is enough to make anyone shudder. Finding gold is electric, Acosta declares. It's like a drug. Kenny is hooked.
I wished more could have been made about the relationship between the two men. The slim, handsome Ramirez is a stark contrast to McConaughey and their contract (hand scrawled on a paper serviette in the middle of the Indonesian jungle and sealed with a handshake) is something we do not forget. This is the beginning of the rollercoaster ride involving investors, Wall Street, the Indonesian President and the FBI and in which there are setbacks, wins, devastations and surprises.
Bryce Dallas Howard is well cast as Kenny's loyal waitress girlfriend; watch for the scene involving yellow roses at the Waldorf Astoria. It ends somewhat differently to how it begins. Rachael Taylor and Bruce Greenwood appear in small but memorable roles. Ultimately, it is McConaughey who steals the film with bravado and conviction. It could well earn him another Academy Award nomination.
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CAST: Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Roby Kebbell, Rachael Taylor, Bruce Greenwood.
PRODUCER: Patrick Massett, Matthew McConaughey, Michael Noik, Teddy Schwarzman, John Zinman
DIRECTOR: Stephen Gaghan
SCRIPT: Patrick Massett, John Zinman
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Elswit
EDITOR: Douglas Crise, Rick Grayson
MUSIC: Daniel Pemberton
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Maria Djurkovic
RUNNING TIME: 121 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Studio Canal
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 2, 2017