Tragic it may be that the titular Spandau Ballet song is absent from this Matthew McConaughey feature, Gold has bigger problems on its mind than musical omissions. Its story of a modern-day prospector should offer up daring adventure and dramatic, cutthroat business dealings. Instead, it can only hope to copy those that came before it. We cannot expect everyone to be original, but when you fall toward captivating and controlling the themes of American Hustle, you find yourself in dangerous waters indeed. That is where Gold finds itself, and it can do nothing to haul itself out of that dangerous zone.
Tired tropes are presented frequently, all in the shoddy montage and narration paired-up format. Matthew McConaughey tries his mightiest to make this work, both narrating the piece and starring in it also. Its concept strikes true enough, a man comments on the hard times he found himself in and the sudden, dastardly plan that made him a success. These stories are ten-a-penny, and few will ever replicate the qualities and level of consistency found within The Wolf of Wall Street. To some extent, Gold shares similar attitudes and themes with that Scorsese piece. A self-assured leading man risks it all and wins big, all while brushing shoulders with shady characters and seemingly corrupt moments of greed. One of the great turning points found within Gold is that it realises its rags-to-riches story has an inherent layer of greed to it. What is there to do when the goal has been reached? Push on further seems to be the decision of Kenny Wells (McConaughey). Predictably, it becomes his undoing.
Slick suits and greasy hair are at the forefront of Gold. Its clear difficulty is that it cannot cope with anything that is not a montage. All of its greatest details and strongest plot discussions are found within the clear-cut bits of boredom. Taxi cab rides through the streets as the needle drops come and go are not inventive, explorative or even all that interesting. Gold is full of them, though. Awkward encounters between former friends and future associates are at the core of Gold, but even then, the link between McConaughey and The Wolf of Wall Street brings with it an undeniable connection, a poor one at that, but nonetheless, it is present. It struggles to sever that link, and having McConaughey drink his way through each and every scene isn’t much of an inspired choice.
Still, the American Dream trundles on. How it does so is truly beyond the pale. It is up to modern-day Americans to highlight how great those times were, despite them being rife with corruption, controversy and dismay. Gold has all three, but not within its story. McConaughey is, as ever, on top form, but that does not contain the miserably dull experience all that well. Pacing that never quite provides the punchy tone Gaghan aims for, Gold’s flash-in-the-pan attitude shows no adaptability for its leading man, who should be throwing himself at everything he can and rolling with the punches. Although it has a good performance, Gaghan feels as though he’s waiting to pull the trigger on something greater. He never does it in time, and before you know it, the credits roll, and that fade to black comes sooner than he’d have liked.