McConaughey shines but Gold dull

Sunday Star-Times - Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

in his por­trayal, lack­ing any van­ity with his big sweaty stom­ach and re­ced­ing hair­line. But against the au­then­tic back­drop of the In­done­sian mines and lo­cal cast, he seems to be over­do­ing the ‘‘act­ing’’, with a lot of arm-wav­ing and un­steadi­ness on his feet as he at­tempts to over­come hur­dles on his path to riches.

A mid-point fight scene with the be­guil­ing but un­der-used Bryce Dal­las Howard is deeply un­con­vinc­ing (‘‘You never be­lieved in me,’’ bel­lows the drunk Wells. Um, yes she to­tally did, you fool, through­out the whole film thus far), and the rest of the script me­an­ders from earnest, soft­ly­mum­bled busi­ness dis­cus­sions to the least in­spir­ing third-act speech you’ve ever heard.

The sound­track’s quite good, to be fair – a host of pop hits from the 1980s pep­per key scenes, but if you ob­ject to your favourite tunes be­ing spliced to fit the edit­ing of the ac­tion, that will an­noy you, too. At one point, the score and the film’s in­evitable voiceover at­tempt to evoke Ocean’s Eleven ,or pos­si­bly even Good­fel­las (no chance!), but the ex­cite­ment doesn’t last long.

Gaghan, what on earth went wrong? The use of real South-East Asian land­scapes and ex­tras are mo­men­tar­ily in­ter­est­ing, un­til McConaughey and Edgar Ramirez take cen­tre stage, and ul­ti­mately the only rea­son to keep watch­ing is that you know it’s a true story so there’s got to be a hell of a pay-off. But when it comes (and fac­tu­ally it could have been a pretty good one), the rev­e­la­tions are un­der­cut by the fact you’re al­ready so bored that you don’t care any more. – Sarah Watt


Bryce Dal­las Howard is un­der­utilised, while Matthew McConaughey goes all out in his por­trayal in Gold.

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