Hey my dearest readers! Before we get started I wanted to mention that this upcoming month of April is designated as “Nic Cage Month” here at Trash or Treasure. This means for four straight Thursdays you will get only the primest of Nic Cage content delivered to you through the Trash or Treasure format you know and love. Hope you enjoy! Now, your featured presentation:
Hello all and welcome to Trash or Treasure lucky number thirteen where we’ve struck gold! Not literal gold, but the 2016 Matthew McConaughey film Gold. The film, based on a real life event, is about a prospector who teams up with a geologist to find gold in Indonesia. The two most apparent things about this film from what I can tell are that Matthew McConaughey appears to be partially bald and that the film was nominated for best original song. I’m not sure how either of these things fit in with this film, so let’s jump on in.
The film opens with a not bald Matthew McConaughey explaining how modern mining works to a knockoff Gweneth Paltrow in a very Matthew McConaughey way. Roughly translated: it’s pretty crazy and a bit confusing. We then meet Kenny’s (Matt McConaughey’s character) father, who promptly dies with some narration and we skip ahead some years to see the balding Matthew McConaughey. Ah, this is the movie I came to see. No wait, no it’s not. I was sold on this as an action movie by Netflix and I’ve spent all of this movie in capitalistic hell. Not a great start for my expectations, but the film hasn’t been bad so far, and thus we forge on.
I guess when I saw about balding, I should’ve known.
We learn that because of the economy, Kenny’s mining company has started to fail. Luckily though, through narration, we learn that Kenny has a Seagram’s induced dream where he decides to go to Indonesia to find some gold and save his life. The movie continues to throw Matthew McConaughey’s shitty body in our face as he leaves his wife hastily and flies immediately to Indonesia to meet Mike, a geologist who has a special theory about the gold in Indonesia. The movie has a bizarre narrative style where things are often narrated and spoken in conversation one after another without an obvious changing moment. Typical movies turn to wide shots or panning shots of beautiful scenery for narration, but often times Matthew McConaughey is narrating over Matthew McConaughey having a conversation. Mike takes Kenny to a special spot on a special river and points out the indigenous peoples, reminding us that this is a lovely story of colonization.
Land of the free, home of the middle aged white man.
Mike tells Kenny of his theory, they sign a contract, and Kenny starts hustling people into funding this operation. They take some money and move into the jungle of Indonesia, deforesting their plot of land and ruining the land.
Wait, that’s not what this film is about?
Shit, guess we’ll gloss over that and continue on. There’s a bunch of rain, a bunch of failure…something, something, something and all of the workers leave. Kenny gets malaria, and honestly if he died right here this film would be a solidly disappointing documentary about how to not trust hunches over science.
What has science ever taught people anyways?
Mike convinces all the workers to come back by getting their villages water treatment devices, saving the movie. He keeps the operation going, despite Kenny having the aforementioned malaria, and even manages to find gold. Kenny, a bit prematurely, begins celebrating, popping the champagne and buying him and his wife a whole new plot of land in the sticks. I took some time to read up on the actual story that this is based on, and I know something terrible is coming, but I’m really interested how it happens. If anything I’m hooked on the film, but it certainly isn’t the action movie I was expecting.
Again, probably should’ve known at this point.
Kenny’s company gets a new office and they have some silly meeting with some oil and mining coalition in New York City. It’s almost like the film fully expects you to understand mining industry terms and ins-and-outs by the time we get here. It’s silly but not a total problem. They meet with their potential investors from this oil and mining coalition and take them on an adventure through the Indonesian jungle to sell them on the operation. Things continue to turn up Kenny’s way as they invest, they start publicly trading stocks, and everything keeps turning up Kenny.
And then he turned into his character from Wolf of Wall Street.
Things start to get dramatic as Kenny hits on some lady at the stock opening party and his wife gets mad. Kenny, unreasonably, doesn’t understand why his wife is mad (presumably because he’s drunk) and he starts to insult his wife. Throwing away his one actually nice thing and the one person who understands the situation, Kenny’s wife leaves him. We also start to get these interspersed radio interview scenes, which I guess is to tell us why there’s been shitty narration this whole movie. Oh, also we get to see McConaughey’s naked ass and see him bang Trish Walker from Jessica Jones.
She’s been in worse spots, I guess.
Kenny makes some rash business decisions and refuses to sell his naming rights to the biggest gold mining company in the world. As a result, the company uses their connections with the Indonesian government to kick Kenny’s company out of Indonesia and shut down their gold mine. Mike is fed up with Kenny, his ex-wife won’t answer the phone, and everything has gone bottom’s up. Luckily, Mike hasn’t given up on Kenny and they hail mary and decide to convince the Indonesian president’s son to come onboard as a partner and convince his dad to give them back the mining rights.
They do so through tiger shenanigans. No, really.
Everything’s turning up Kenny again as he gains exclusive rights to the Indonesia mine and he’s being awarded the probably fake award “The Golden Pickaxe”. Sure he can’t win his wife back, but he still has Rachael Taylor right? She can’t be that bad. The movie takes a very sudden turn when we learn that Mike has been doctoring the samples of the gold and everything has been false the whole time. On top of that, Mike has been using the whole thing as a money making scheme and has run off to who knows where with millions of dollars.
Probably ran off with Rachael Taylor.
We learn that the radio interviewer is actually the FBI, and Kenny denounces Mike to the press. With Kenny’s life completely ruined, he begins to interview with FBI starting the narrative of the film again. We discover that Mike returned to Indonesia, and seemingly faked his death with help of the Indonesian government (the president’s son from earlier). The movie ends with the FBI finishing their interview and leaving Kenny free to go. There’s some sad music, some sad imagery, and Kenny finds a letter from Mike with 50% of the money he stole, as per their napkin-contract promise from earlier in the film.
Pictured: legally binding contract paper.
Overall, the film was not that bad, though thoroughly disappointing from the standpoint of my original expectations. I fully expected a poor action movie starring Matthew McConaughey and what I got was a biographical drama that, apart from the plenty of shitty-body Matthew McConaughey in it, was actually a decent film. This is, by far, the strangest Trash or Treasure we’ve ever had. Lucky we get back to the normal stuff next week, right?