McConaughey shines but Gold dull
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.