Rated: R for language throughout and some sexuality/nudity. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: January 27, 2017 Released by: Dimension Films
Matthew McConaughey, who has excelled in the animated world of late (see Sing, Kubo and the Two Strings) musters up quite a convincing sales pitch heavy moxie in Stephan Gaghan's adventure/drama 'based on actual events' (specifically a scandal) relocated to Reno in the 1980s from Calgary.
Gaghan, who last made the absorbingly nuanced Syriana, is back with a film which incorporates notions of the American Dream in a fantastical light skittering around films featuring Humphrey Bogart and Leonardo DiCaprio with quite a profit margin at times. An inquisitor of McConaughey's bald-pated, paunchy Kenny Wells, a third generation Nevada miner nearing financial ruin, played nameless by Toby Kebbell in fast-forward fashion maybe attempts to matriculate through naïve, awkward perception.
Kenny's (mostly) supportive barmaid significant other, very coiffed wary Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard of the huge hit Jurassic World, The Help) lets him and his colleagues use his workplace as a long-aspired undertaking will ultimately come to fruition in the sultry, sweaty environs of Jakarta, Indonesia.
Because of his prodding of a reluctant geologist, Mike Acosta, done with a combination of calm and natural spark by Edgar Ramirez (Hands of Stone, biopic of Roberto Duran). The excursion will ultimately confer the eponymous element from "rings of fire" and draw dark suit Wall Street types and also the Feds. Secondary parts are filled in less prominently by Craig T. Nelson, Stacy Keach, Bruce Greenwood, and Corey Stoll, and Rachael Taylor.
The undeterred giddy ardor of Kenny is McConaughey in outsized, highly watchable form even if the zest emanating from the character isn't presented when the frame doesn't include him. A breakneck pace with riches, vices, and perils on the ride with Howard taking a more pronounced backseat as it proceeds that may keep the heart and soul of Gold at bay.
Even if Gaghan struggles mightily to control the veering from compassion to lampoonery as not giving in and the influence of wealth surfaces, McConaughey's prurient, brash prospector luckily doesn't recede at all like his fake hairline. An unlikely, unpredictable venture with its share of windfalls and mishaps cinematically turns out to be an ambivalent reversal of fortune holding true to its tagline, "Prove 'em all wrong."