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Gold is a good film. There’s little that can be said about it, as it’s hardly the complex or challenging, and certainly isn’t vying for the award season glory that could be expected from its release schedule. It’s a fairly basic story, but the tour de force lead performance from Matthew McConaughey and brisk, fun pacing make for a very watchable adventure turned conspiracy. It’s also really charming, with a beautiful musical score that gives the film an added emotional impact that it may not have gained otherwise.

Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) is an earnest, hard on luck prospector with dreams of finding gold within South America. Wells teams with Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez), a former associate with knowledge of geology, and the two set on a scheme to find undiscovered gold in Indonesia, resulting in a media frenzy and conflicts with the banks and investors. Not only is the towering, eccentric performance by McConaughey one of the wildest and most weirdly charming of his career, but it’s his relationship with Ramirez, another one of the industry’s brightest talents, that guides the film through a rather familiar story.

There’s some dense material, but director Stephen Gaghan keeps things engaging with fresh humor and a bouncy, engaging directorial job that keeps the audience in the loop entertained while dealing with exposition (an appearance by New Order’s “Temptation” also never hurts). But the film hinges on one thing; our investment in Kenny Wells, and thanks to the film’s screenplay, we’re on Kenny’s side the entire way, even if he isn’t a flawless person. The movie isn’t flawless either, but there’s enough quick witted exchanges and sweeping landscapes to warrant a hearty recommendation. Grade: B

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