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Gold Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Review

Gold (2016) movie poster Gold

Theatrical Release: December 30, 2016 / Running Time: 120 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Stephen Gaghan / Writers: Patrick Massett, John Zinman

Cast: Matthew McConaughey (Kenny Wells), Edgar Ramirez (Michael Acosta), Bryce Dallas Howard (Kay), Corey Stoll (Bryan Woolf), Toby Kebbell (Paul K. Jennings), Bill Camp (Hollis Drescher), Joshua Harto (Lloyd Stanton), Timothy Simons (Jeff Jackson), Craig T. Nelson (Kenny Wells Sr.), Macon Blair (Connie Wright), Adam LeFevre (Bobby Burns), Frank Wood (Scottie Nevins), Michael Landes (Glen Binkert), Bhavesh Patel (Bobby Owens), Rachael Taylor (Rachel Hill), Stacy Keach (Clive Coleman), Bruce Greenwood (Mark Hancock)

Buy Gold from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD • DVD • Instant Video

Ordinarily, it is easy to distinguish end-of-year movies from beginning-of-year ones. Those seeking the prestige of awards tend to open small around Christmas and then expand in January.
But The Weinstein Company took that practice to an extreme in 2016-17 with qualifying runs for films that weren't playing anywhere else until late January. The two fact-inspired dramas driven by strong lead performances -- Ray Kroc biopic The Founder and the Matthew McConaughey vehicle Gold -- disappointed at the box office to reviews that were less than what awards contenders usually draw.

Gold opens in 1981 Nevada, with prospector Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) riding high in a flourishing business run by his father (Craig T. Nelson). Dad dies and seven years later, Kenny's business isn't doing so well. Then, an idea comes to him in a dream: he is to dig in an area in Indonesia under the guidance of the suave and seasoned geologist Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramνrez). Challenges abound there, as workers threaten to leave and Kenny, who is maxing out his credit cards on blind faith, gets stricken with malaria.

Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) and Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramνrez) brave disease and danger to look for gold in the jungles of Indonesia.

But it all pays off even better than Kenny could dream it, with the biggest discovery of gold in a decade. Soon, businesses who wanted nothing to do with Kenny are begging to invest on his terms. He even gets courted by a New York firm (in a deal led by Corey Stoll).

In the tradition of films like The Wolf of Wall Street and War Dogs, Gold is a rise and fall tale. To say more would probably require spoilers and I fear I may have already crossed that line.

Directed by Stephen Gaghan (Syriana) and written by a TV-versed duo picking up their first theatrical credit since 2001's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Gold is a compelling drama told with appealing period detail and a decent amount of flair. There is a true story, but it is merely the springboard for the screenwriters, who change nearly all the details. The film relies heavily on McConaughey, who redeemed himself a few years ago and hasn't looked back.

As in Dallas Buyers Club, McConaughey transforms himself physically. He gains weight, loses hair, and sports an unsightly set of chompers. There isn't the impact of the rail-thin AIDS patient that won him the Best Actor Oscar, and Gold plays up the angle a little too hard, with more scenes than it needs of Kenny in only his tighty whiteys. The fact is that many, if not most, men approaching 50 would be all right, all right, all right with looking like this.

Kenny (Matthew McConaughey) uses his newfound wealth to buy a plot of land for him and his girl Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard).

But though the receding hairline and protruding belly may smack of someone wanting another trip to the Oscar podium, McConaughey grounds this performance in sturdy dramatics,

getting you to sympathize with a guy with a dream as he gets rich and proud in a hurry. Ramνrez is good too in the deuteragonist part. Bryce Dallas Howard gets to remind us of women's fashions of the '80s in the somewhat underdeveloped role of Kenny's love interest. Meanwhile, Kenny's cronies are well played by guys who look and sound the part, guys who would have likely been earned callbacks on The Wolf of Wall Street.

Gold was eligible for 2016 awards, but it drew just two nominations, one from the dubious Hollywood Film Awards and a nod for Best Original Song at the Golden Globes. That and subpar ratings on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes suggest this is Oscar bait that missed the mark, but that is not in line with the movie I saw, which is admirable and enjoyable not simply by January movie standards. Yes, this production would have welcomed Oscar nominations and that is why it had the qualifying run. But though a bit slow at times, the film definitely hooks you and keeps you invested with its completely unknown and relatively unpredictable story.

The Globes-nominated titular song, performed by Danger Mouse and Iggy Pop, is just one of several needle drops catching your attention here. Others include covers of Talking Heads' "This Must Be the Place" and Eric Burdon & War's "Spill the Wine" and original period tunes by New Order, Joy Division, and the Pixies. Gold doesn't push its era too hard, choosing to let it enrich the story rather than drive it.

Without critical support and awards recognition, Gold struggled to find an audience in theaters. It opened in tenth place with a weak $3.5 million first weekend and barely doubled that debut, finishing with just $7.2 million domestically despite an over 2,000 theater count. It gets another chance to be discovered with this month's DVD and Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD releases from The Weinstein Company and Anchor Bay.

Gold: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled in English
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-50 & DVD-9)
Suggested Retail Price: $34.99
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover
Also available on DVD ($29.98 SRP) and on Amazon Instant Video


Gold looks good on Blu-ray. The film has a little bit of a throwback vibe and the light grain to its 2.40:1 presentation appears to be deliberate. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack does an excellent job of distributing the appealing soundtrack tunes, crisp dialogue, and what other effects and ambient noises there are.

Kenny (Matthew McConaughey) ignores cultural customs at a lunch with an Indonesian minister being courted in this deleted sequence. Director Stephen Gaghan discusses "Gold" in making-of featurettes.


The extras begin with an audio commentary by director Stephen Gaghan. This one is unusually full and passionate for a veteran filmmaker solo commentary. Gaghan speaks with reference to what's on screen and details much,
from shooting in locations that hadn't been updated since the '80s to changes made to the film over time to hiring miners to play miners. It's a good track should you like the film enough to give it a listen.

On the video side, all of which the Blu-ray presents in HD, we find four items and a curious "Play All" option.

A deleted sequence (5:18) presents Kenny acting out of line at a lunch with an Indonesian minister he and Acosta are courting.

"The Origins of Gold" (4:37) explains how the project took shape after years of studio resistance and personnel change, unfolding largely with interviews of Gaghan and producers.

"The Locations of Gold" (4:20) comments on the sites where the movie is set (e.g. Indonesia) and was filmed (e.g. Thailand), with a focus on period production design.

Finally, "Matthew McConaughey as Kenny Wells" (3:45) lets everyone speak highly of the leading man who transformed himself physically for the movie, while McConaughey discusses the character.

The discs open with trailers for Lion and The Founder. Gold's own trailer is not included here.

The ordinary main menu runs clips over listings that are fittingly colored gold.

The gray DVD and full-color Blu-ray share an eco-friendly keepcase with the Digital HD insert. The case is topped by an embossed slipcover with a foil sheen befitting the title.

Narration running through "Gold" is revealed to be the testimony of Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) given to federal investigators.


Though it struck out with critics and completely bombed with the moviegoing public, Gold is a fun ride worth taking. Weinstein and Anchor Bay's combo pack is easy to recommend.

Buy Gold from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD / DVD / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
New to Disc: The Founder • Lion • Rings • The Red Turtle • Punching Henry • Silence • Fences
Matthew McConaughey: Interstellar • Dallas Buyers Club • The Sea of Trees • The Paperboy • Amistad
Edgar Ramirez: Joy • The Girl on the Train • Hands of Stone
Bryce Dallas Howard: Pete's Dragon • Jurassic World • Hereafter • The Help
The Wolf of Wall Street • War Dogs • The Big Short • Goodfellas • Wall Street • Traffic

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Reviewed May 8, 2017.

Text copyright 2017 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2016 TWC-Dimension, Boies/Schiller Films, Black Bear Pictures, Highway 61 Films,
2017 The Weinstein Company Home Entertainment and Anchor Bay Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.