Director: Stephen Gaghan.
McConaughey stars as Kenny Wells, a down at heel, heavy drinking gold prospector. Wells is desperate for that one lucky break that will restore the name and reputation of his Father’s company. Wells has nothing left but the shirt on his back. He contacts Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramírez) and they strike up a contract to find the gold mine that Acosta believes to be located in Indonesia’s jungle land. On a fifty-fifty basis Wells promises Acosta he will find the resources to fund the expedition, “whatever it takes”.
They, literally, strike gold or so it would seem. All the test results suggest they have struck the largest mine in history and subsequently everybody wants a piece of their action. Soon enough, though, questions are asked and not is all as legitimate as it seems.
McConaughey turns in another one of those performances that you didn’t think possible when he was making films like Sahara, for instance. He seems to be able to effortlessly add a different kind of eccentricity to each role as it demands. He plays Kenny Wells in a stark contrast to that say of Rust Cohle in True Detective. A larger than life character who despite the obstacles and hindrances in his life still manages to remain positive.
Edgar Ramirez shows a different side to that which the viewer may be used to. He still smoulders like he does in most films but here he portrays a more human side particularly in his friendship with Wells. It’s not an amazing performance and he doesn’t steal anything from McConaughey but he certainly earns his second billing.
Bryce Dallas Howard is arguably the one to steal the show, if anyone does. Howard brings a warmth to Kay, Wells’ long suffering other half. She cares deeply for Wells and she displays this well despite all the trials an tribulations that come with being in love with him. The most grounded character in the film and the only one to be able to level things out for Kenny Wells, or at least try to.
The film is very good, let’s establish that now. My only real issue was that at the outset the monologue seemed to suggest it was directed at the viewer. It later becomes apparent that this is not the case. This affected the structure of the film a little but not enough to make it a disappointment. The quality of the cast and the story itself keep you absorbed in proceedings throughout the movie. There’s also some great New Order and Joy Division tracks to feature which is always going to be a winner when I’m the viewer. No doubt that some of the elements featured in the story and key twists will have been highly dramatised for benefit of entertainment but those adaptions make for it to be a worthwhile and more than satisfactory two hours viewing.
3.5/5 Stars: Not quite gold standard, more of a solid silver.