Gold’s value lies chiefly in the hearts and minds of those who seek it. In Stephen Gaghan’s inspired-by-true-events crime adventure Gold, Matthew McConaughey plays a slovenly King Midas–type prospector, Kenny Wells, who’s lost his touch after his father dies and leaves him a formerly booming mining company. Desperate to make a hit, he pursues the partnership of a brilliant young geologist, Michael Acosta (Édgar Ramírez), who’d hit on a huge copper mine in Indonesia before going bust on another prospect. The simple story is that two men knee-deep in failures form an unlikely bond -- one a loudmouth alcoholic, and the other a poetic, stern adventurer -- to prove to the world that they’ve still got it by discovering the biggest gold mine of all time ... until it’s not.
Over and over again, the film seems to be asking: What makes a man a man? And the answer it gives is that a man is not a man without absolute power, so this is what he should strive for. In the end, the whole thing is a bit like one big golden shower pissing contest, with every male character vying for top of the trough.
Gold isn’t just about gold; it’s about knocking the elites off their Wall Street towers, a kind of The Big Short meets The Goonies parable, barely addressing the irony that these men are seeking to become the same money monsters as the bank executives, only in sheep’s clothing. So for all the prospects this parable holds, it’s merely gilded in those big ideas -- the bulk of it is made of dense, dull materials already hashed out in numerous other capers.