Ever since Walter Huston did his little gold dance in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, tales of gold-prospecting have captured the Hollywood imagination. The latest comes to us from director Stephen Gaghan with the film Gold, starring Matthew McConaughey as Kenny Wells.
Wells is a down-on-his-luck prospector until he meets a geologist (Edgar Ramirez) who helps him find a gold mine in the jungles of Indonesia. Suddenly the world has turned upside-down and Wells is at the top of the heap, using his newfound wealth to buy the free-wheeling, champagne-fueled lifestyle he’s always dreamed of. But there’s trouble in paradise and Wells might have to fight to keep the gold he’s discovered.
While the new trailer for Gold has a distinct feeling of your standard “wealth corrupts” narrative, there’s still something very compelling about what it shows of the film. McConaughey is in full crazy mode a la his role in The Wolf of Wall Street – and given that I was longing for a movie about that character more than anything else, perhaps my prayers have been answered. We don’t see much of Wells’s life prior to his discovery of the mine, though the voiceover implies that the story is being told from Wells’s perspective far into the future. Nor do we see much of Ramirez or Bryce Dallas Howard, who also stars in the film.
I do hope that Gold avoids at least some of the cliches of the genre and gives us a more complex narrative than a man getting and then losing everything he’s ever wanted through his extreme hubris. While those stories are common and realistic enough, we need some variation in the rather small gold-prospecting subgenre. But if I can’t have that, please tell me that McConaughey at least does a Walter Huston impression.
Gold will hit U.S. theaters on Christmas day.