If you don't know the amazing real-life story that inspired "Gold" you should check it out. It is one of those clear examples of "truth is stranger than fiction". A Filipino Engineer, Michael de Guzman perpetrated what was at the time the largest fraud ever attempted in the Mining industry. He may (or may not) have gotten away with tens of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains. Or, he may have fallen -- or been pushed -- out of the window of a Helicopter, hundreds of feet above an Indonesian rain forest.
You literally cannot make this stuff up.
What "Gold" does, somewhat successfully, is tell that story by dressing it up, re-locating the main North American action, adding and subtracting characters, etc. If you want your films to be true to the "inspired by true events" moniker then "Gold" is not for you. It takes significant creative license with the facts. But, if you want your stories entertaining and fairly well made, then this is your kind of film.
"Gold" has one main guilty pleasure, and that is Matthew McConaughey chewing the scenery as the fictional character, based on the real-life Calgary Mining investor, David Walsh. As Christian Bale was transformed for the much better “inspired by true events” “American Hustle”, McConaughey dons a bald/wig, probably gained real weight and is sporting one of the most obscene sets of false teeth perhaps ever attempted in a major motion picture.
The results could have been a disaster, but in the hands of an Oscar-winning actor they are splendid. Since his character in the film is mostly fabricated, it is not possible to say he becomes David Walsh, but he does become something interesting: watching him nearly lose everything, make a wild bet on a Filipino engineer and trudge through the jungles of Borneo, all the while contracting Malaria and driving up the value of his company’s stock is a sight to behold.
The rest of “Gold” is, to some extent, window dressing. Actor/director Edgar Ramirez is passable as the film’s version of de Guzman: if it is possible to “un-foreground” a character, “Gold” does that with deGuzman. The location photography is very good and the overall technique of Stephen Gaghan’s direction builds good tension by jumping from Reno, NV to Borneo to Wall Street.
But again, come for the story – which, even if it is mostly made-up, is still good – but stay for McConaughey. You will not regret it.