Gold Bullion Club.
121 Mins. Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll, Tony Kebbell, Craig T. Nelson, Rachael Taylor, Stacy Keach & Bruce Greenwood. Director: Stephen Gaghan.
Buying into Dallas' club like the Texan Maverick that he is, Matthew McConaughey has struck Oscar gold before. But despite this bullion dollar picture, the Academy is coming up with dust for his actual 'Gold' movie right now. Is the McConaissance that his 'Killer Joe', 'The Lincoln Lawyer' and the 'Mud' of 'Loving' director Jeff Nichols started scuffing? After his best 'Dallas Buyers Club', 'Best Actor' year that also saw his classic cameo in DiCaprio's 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' and small screen silver in his shining 'True Detective' dark drama, his career truly went 'Interstellar'. But between this and last years 'Free State Of Jones' Oscar bait, it looks like McConaughey hasn't been cutting the same type of Oscar mustard despite physically dedicating himself to his roles as much as he does physcologically. The man who starved himself gaunt to play an AIDS sufferer in 'Dallas Buyers' here fattens up like a 'Raging Bull'. All balding flat-top, paunch pouch and snaggle tooth. But is this great prospect that McConaughey mines merely 'Fools Gold' like the time he took his shirt off for a couple of hours on the beach with Kate Hudson for the ghost of your girlfriends favourite romantic comedies past? Should he now stick to making movies for his kid like 'Kubo and the Two Strings' and his 'Sing' Koala that is beating him to the gold right now? The McConaughey juniors nicknamed "Captain Fun" for all the second helpings of pizza slices and breakfast ice cream to get into shape for this movie is no Viggo Mortensen 'Captain Fantastic'. Whilst Gosling's 'La La Land', Washington's 'Fences', Garfield's 'Hacksaw Ridge' and the younger Affleck's 'Manchester By The Sea' are all too good even if this role lead isn't a 'Sully' snub like what this Academy seem to be doing to Captain Hanks. Still even if this movie doesn't shine like it's namesake during awards season it's still worth its weight and wait like his forthcoming Stephen King 'Dark Tower' adaptation with Idris Elba. Just you see. As Matthew McConaughey plays Kenny Wells, a man who could sell water to a well. Or gold to a mine.
McConaughey is 24 carat slick, no leaf as Wells who wants to bank on his investment, return or bail out like Fargo. From the beautiful, perfect plains of Indoneisa to the ugly undercurrent of the bull tactics of the New York, money monster stock exchange and the ringing of the bell from the Wall St. wolves. Matthew hasn't been this well received cradling a phone on his shoulder and a ball point pen writing down a number we can all agree on since he told Leonardo DiCaprio his three times a day secret to success, after Martin Scorsese set a lunch date for him and Jordan Belfort. Kenny Wells is a different type of animal. One that can play with a tiger, no 'Hangover'. No matter how many scotch he downs off the rocks in this film. The only time he's not holding a tumbler is when he's nursing a pack of Marlbro lights. Still this guys stock tip rises the more his hairline receeds as his pockets and his bursting shirt buttons get bigger. It's glutoney and greed all rolled into a wardrobe of sweated through Sipowicz shirts and Florida retired mobster polo tops. But boy does McConaughey look good and the part in this go for broke American Dream story that takes one hell of a back door. Opened for him by drilling director Stephen Gaghan who went from the screenplay of 'Traffic' to the direction of 'Syriana' and here polishes these gold blocks perfectly to a stunning shine. Letting McConaughey by McConaughey as Matthew is his physical best (ish) since 'Dallas' and at his most charismatic since he waded through 'Mud'. And the leading man-who just like 'A Free State Of Jones' shows he doesn't need the attention of the Academy to make great movies that further his filmography's legacy-will crawl through more dirt and rain with his fathers hands to get hold of what he is scraping and clawing to. No matter what he has to bury on the way. Now that's the gold.
And far more than just the Hollywood brought in trophy wife on his side. Ron Howard's daughter Bryce Dallas Howard joins the 'Dallas Buyers Club' as more than just help but the heart of McConaughey and this picture of a portrait of a success story that may have left his soul in the footnotes. Many were quick to critic Dallas Howard for running from a T-Rex and more 'Jurassic World' dinos in heels alongside Chris Pratt, but that was just in the script. And here Bryce shows she is much more than a mix of a cocktail dress, hairspray and pearls in this movie as 80's as those pull cord phones in 'Wall Street'. The industry and audiences have been confusing this great actress with her co-star from 'The Help' Jessica Chastain ever since they wrapped that picture with fellow red head Emma Stone. And even though Bryce won't be joining 'La La Land' at the Oscars this star in her own right that has a look of both Chastain and Amy Adams is making her own arrival, name and look. As is Edgar Ramirez the rising actor of the last couple of years who has gone from his own 'Point Break' lead remake, to starring supports in the likes of Jennifer Lawrence's 'Joy' to Emily Blunt's by the book 'Girl On A Train'. But the 'Hands Of Stones' actor who started his sparring in 'Zero Dark Thirty' really hits here with his best bout yet. He's making his own legend too. Whilst others pop up in this Wells bloated but bravado cast. From Craig T. Nelson's fatherly advice to an amazingly accented Bruce Greenwood. And speaking of great voices, what's a good film these days without the unmistakable voice of Stacy Keach? He rounds out a class cast that includes the Doom of the new 'Fantastic Four' Tony Kebbell as a real detective and 'Jessica Jones'' Rachael Taylor as somone who wants to Killgrave McConaughey's mind and married life. Hey, even the guy that threatened to reveal Batman's real identity in 'The Dark Knight' is here. But he knows better to blackmail this person. The only one who looks to kill Kenny's dream with any success just south of knocking it out the park is 'Ant-Man's Yellowjacket Corey Stoll, who has been on an incredible run as late with things like this and his shorter but longer reaching roles behing big actors like this one or the 'Black Mass' of Johnny Depp. All in all there's a lot of golden nuggets and sub-plots to sieve and sift through here. But it's McConaughey and his pot of make your own luck here that bands and chains it all together. It sure looks like gold to me. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Dallas Buyers Club', 'The Wolf Of Wall Street', 'Mud'.