Adventure Blu-ray Review

'Gold' Blu-ray Review: All that glitters is really Matthew McConaughey

May 8, 2017Ben MK

In an age when CGI and special effects can be used to easily alter an actor's appearance, there's something to be said for the old-school approach of transforming oneself physically for a role. Tom Hanks did it for Cast Away. Ditto for Christian Bale in The Machinist. In 2013, Matthew McConaughey did it for Dallas Buyer's Club, and now, he's done it again for Gold, a film for which he packed on some 40 pounds of flab.

Inspired by real-life events, Gold tells the story of Kenny Wells (McConaughey), a fourth-generation miner who has all but hit rock-bottom. The year is 1988, and — desperate to save the floundering company he inherited from his father — Kenny stakes every last cent he has on the wild theories of geologist Mike Acosta (Edgar Ramírez), whose claims that there's a literal gold mine beneath the Indonesian jungle just waiting to be discovered have Kenny intrigued. Lo and behold, the bet pays off big time, and Kenny finds himself something of an overnight success.

That is, until it all turns into a nightmare. Using the Bre-X scandal that made headlines across Canada in the early 90s as the basis for the story, director Stephen Gaghan and screenwriters John Zinman and Patrick Massett spin an entertaining tale that's part Indiana Jones, part American Hustle. Of course, it's McConaughey who ends up stealing the spotlight, drawing viewers in with his portrayal. Ostensibly, there's no reason why he had to alter his physique so dramatically for the role. However, it's hard to argue against his total embodiment of the character.

That being said, the rest of the cast is somewhat wasted here. Ramírez gives a performance that makes for interesting comparisons to McConaughey's, but he's mostly a secondary character. Bryce Dallas Howard plays Kenny's loyal girlfriend, but her impact on the narrative is minimal. And Cory Stoll, Toby Kebbell and Rachael Taylor show up briefly, although some of their appearances could have been left on the cutting room floor and no one would have been the wiser. For better or worse, Gold's fortunes ride almost entirely on McConaughey.

Gold shines on Blu-ray with a 1080p visual presentation that perfectly captures the look of the film. From the arid desert of Reno, Nevada, to the lush jungles of Borneo, to the steel and concrete towers of New York City, picture quality is clear and film-like, with a grainy quality that's more prevalent in certain scenes than others, as well as excellent color saturation, particularly in sequences set in Indonesia. As for the audio, the provided DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is of equally high quality. Dialogue comes through loud and clear, as does the movie's score and 80s music soundtrack; and the sound design is peppered with all sorts of interesting elements, from the chittering and chirping of monkeys and birds in the jungle, to the downpour from a torrential rainstorm.

Elevation Pictures' single-disc Blu-ray release includes an iTunes digital copy and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Feature Commentary with Director Stephen Gaghan - Gaghan talks about the actors' performances, the music score, his experiences working with the film crew, the lighting and the cinematography, the production and set design, the real-life story and more.
  • Deleted Sequence (5:18) - Kenny almost blows an important business meeting, in this deleted scene.
  • The Origins of Gold (4:38) - Director Stephen Gaghan, writers John Zinman and Patrick Massett, and producer Teddy Schwarzman discuss how the film came to be, from the script to the casting of Matthew McConaughey.
  • The Locations of Gold (4:21) - A look at the cast and crew's experience and the challenges of filming in Thailand.
  • Matthew McConaughey as Kenny Wells (3:46) - McConaughey and his castmates recall his performance and his physical transformation for the role.

Gold is available from Elevation Pictures as of May 2nd, 2017. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and French Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. The film is presented with English SDH subtitles. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 0 Min.

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