The problem with "Gold" is that it takes you into an esoteric world (in this case, let's call it "large-scale multi-national gold mining?") without making us care about the intricacies of the topic. Instead, it follows the template laid out in Oliver Stone's "Wall Street" (and that Martin Scorsese bludgeoned to death in "Wolf of Wall Street") of showering the viewer in capitalism porn: Shots of people getting rowdier as visual cues (i.e. graphs going upwards, the stock exchange ringing) show them getting richer and richer. This is a shame because Stephen Gaghan masterfully wove story threads in an Altmanesque manner to tell the story of the global oil crisis.
Without that effort to make the economics of an economics
film engaging ("Big Short" is a better example of this), there's little
reason to care about this story. It's just some schlub who looks an
awful lot like Christian Bale's character in "American Hustle" (another
better film with which this one shares suspicious stylistic
similarities) on a lucky streak.
the second half, some twists emerge, including one big blind-siding
whopper that is very likely what catapulted the real life story out of
obscurity and led to the existence of this film, but by then it's too
little too late and there's not really any foreshadowing that makes the
big reveal interesting.
What's even more frustrating is that what could
have made the film palatable was right there in the script. The story is
framed around a mysterious interview that McConaughey's character has
with either his lawyer or the FBI but this narrative device is employed
Despite the film's grandiose ambitions,
the film is only memorable in the end for a smattering of striking
images that don't lead up to more than the sum of their parts: The
"Apocalypse Now" allusion of a man coming to terms with his demons in
the Southeast Asian jungle, the contrast between the sweetness of Bryce
Dallas Howard and the raw ugliness of McConaughey (I'm presuming he
gained weight for this part), and the odd homoerotic gaze from McConaughey shows to Edgar Ramirez's character.
If there's a film to be told about David Walsh, Stephen Gaghan's approach isn't the way to best do it justice.