intriguing prospect from Matthew McConaughey
You have to admire the sheer commitment of Matthew
McConaughey. He lost three stone for his role as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers
Club and now he has gained 3 stone for his latest role as Kenny Wells in Gold.
And it’s good that you can admire these characters, because they can be difficult
to like. Both are hard drinking, chain smoking loners from the wrong side of
the tracks, who initially don’t look after anybody but themselves, and don’t do
a particularly good job of doing that.
However, just like his Oscar winning role,
McConaughey’s latest character is driven by a higher purpose, in this case the
search for gold. He’s not in it for the money – and turns down eye-watering
sums to prove the fact – he’s in it for the chase. Like an author who just
wants the vindication of being published, or an artist who just wants to create
great art, Wells just wants to be recognised as a successful prospector, like
his father and his father before him. Mining is in his blood and under his
That’s not to say he doesn’t enjoy the
money when it comes, and there have been many comparisons drawn between the
excesses of Gold and Wolf of Wall St. in this respect. Yet you know, somehow,
that he’s going to survive without when the cash inevitably goes away again.
That is just the Kenny Wells way.
Gold is more than just a rags to riches
story; it’s rags to riches to rags to riches to rags to who knows where the
Kenny Wells wheel of fortune will finally stop. The plots twists and turns,
never leaving you in one place or state of mind for long enough to get comfortable,
before the next bump in the road throws things off in a whole new direction.
“What a goddam ride!” says Wells, and you have to agree.
Rarely without a whiskey or a cigarette in
his hand, whatever time of day it is, this character might seem a world away
from McConaughey’s other current screen role, as the voice of Buster Moon in Sing!
But the two characters are actually very similar. Both are scraping by on a
shoestring, yet both hold on to big dreams, inspired by the success of their
late fathers. And both have the ability to get others to dream that dream with
them and help them achieve the seemingly impossible, against all the odds.
That said, you couldn’t describe Gold as an
inspiring film. Lots of people lost lots of money in the scandal, based on the
true-life story of the Bre-X scandal in Canada. But like so many share deals
and high finance, you could argue that that money never really existed in the
first place. When a company can be worth 4cents a share one day, and $70
dollars a share the next, you begin to understand Kenny Wells’ take on life. “I
wasn’t in it for the money,” he tells the Feds. “I was in it for the gold.”
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