The pursuit of that bright shiny metal can drive a prospector to extremes. In “Gold”, the apparent major find in the Indonesian jungle sets off a frenzy in the lives of the people involved. That includes Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) who owns a tiny mining company started by his grandfather in Reno. The company has hit upon hard times, and now the salesmen try to sell shares of dead mines that have no future. They all work out of a bar in Reno, since the office has been closed for a long time. Kenny has a girlfriend in a waitress named Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard). But Kenny still has big dreams about gold…

His dream leads him to Indonesia, where he meets Michael Acosta (Édgar Ramírez). Acosta is a geologist who once discovered the largest deposit of copper. Kenny thinks that Acosta can do the same thing for him and discover the world’s largest gold reserve. Acosta has also had a string of bad luck, but Kenny has so much enthusiasm that he convinces Acosta to try again.


After a few false starts, Acosta settles on a remote jungle location. Kenny has limited funds to support the exploration, but he presses on. The jungle takes a toll on Kenny, and he catches malaria and nearly dies. But when he is better, Acosta tells Kenny the good news. He has been successful in finding a large gold deposit.

The story moves back and forth between Indonesia and Reno, where Kenny has become a big shot in the mining industry. He reopens his company, and the investments are flowing in non-stop. There is a major New York hedge fund that is ready to find major investors. Barry Wolff (Corey Stoll) has Kenny and Kay come to New York where they live it up. Acosta stays at the mine delivering more good news all the time. The world’s largest mining company is ready to buy out Kenny and Acosta, but Kenny turns them down at the last minute. The gold bug has bitten him really bad…

The mining company was snubbed and wants to get even, so they convince Indonesian government to shut down the operation. That almost stops Kenny, until he finds a special partner who will get all back on track. So the operation keeps running, the bankers have been rejected.  Kenny finds out that Kay was not impressed with Kenny’s new attitude. She leaves him, and he shrugs it off.

Kenny has an interview with an FBI visitor (Toby Kebbell) who explains that everything about the mining operation is not what it seems. Kenny and his company are brought down in a crashing failure. Acosta is nowhere to be found, and the authorities want answers. Kenny is left in the lurch…


Matthew McConaughey really transforms himself in the role of Kenny Wells. The ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ changes to become a middle-aged, balding, pot-bellied, chain-smoking drunkard with bad teeth. He owns the role, and makes Kenny’s personality shine like a super-nova. When Kenny meets up with Michael Acosta, he persuades the geologist with his pluck and luck. Édgar Ramírez also does a fine job as Acosta, the geologist who might have lead Kenny down the Golden Path. Bryce Dallas Howard also does what she can with her role, but the focus is really on Kenny and his obsession with gold.

Is “Gold” as good as the real thing? The story is very interesting, and it is told with a great deal of style and flair. The acting is fun to watch, especially McConaughey getting into the slovenly Kenny character. But the center is not focused in any one direction, and it does tend to wander. So it never reaches pure 24 Karat quality, but is sure is shiny. contributor: JMcNaughton tmc

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