Like father like son as the saying goes! In Reno, Nevada, 1981, Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) always thought he would carry on his father’s (Craig T. Nelson) tradition as a prospector. Seven years later, after his father died Kenny became fat, drunk, bald, and unable to raise money but he still had the love of his girlfriend Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard). A matter of fact he moved in with her since he had nowhere else to go. One night he had a dream and that dream about the ring of fire led him to pawn some jewelry and fly out to Indonesia to meet up with a well-known prospector named Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez). Kenny got a meeting with him at a local hotel lobby, Michael, clean cut, extremely attractive and smart took one look at Kenny and assumed the worst, washed up.
Something gave Michael the idea to try Kenny out as someone to raise money for a possible gold prospect. Fueled with high energy and the prospect of gold Kenny returned home and got his friends and old colleagues to make calls on behalf of Michael and his name to raise needed money for labor and equipment. He raised some and set back out to the jungles to work with Michael himself. Soon though Michael and Kenny ended up with no money, no workers, and no find and for Kenny, Malaria. Yet suddenly upon his recovery they struck gold and the mine was theirs and prosperous. Everyone wanted a piece of the action, they were in the news, winning awards, making millions which led them to Brian Woolf (Corey Stoll) and his finance company that wanted in as a third partner. Kenny wasn’t losing his naming rights but instead along with his girlfriend Kay and his partner Michael they rang the stock market bell on September 8. Washoe Mining as it was called was the hottest stock of the year and the money was pouring in.
Life in the fast lane became complicated not only for Kenny but for Kay as well. She had only his best interest at heart but he could not see that through the drinking, women, power and money. She knew that these investor and financial tycoons were going to tear Kenny up. And they did just that! Kenny thought though that if he sold his dream what would he have left? Remember money doesn’t always buy happiness but instead has a way of complicating things and complicated is an understatement. Yet thanks to a man named Danny and the Indonesia government, a set of balls, a tiger and an 85/15 split the road was looking a little better for Michael and Kenny. Sometimes though those closest to you are truly your enemy and the proof is all in the FBI files. When a decision had to be made of 164 million versus 1000 feet, through it all friendship and heartache it took one man to prove them wrong and make that final decision.
This story was extremely well directed and written and has you thinking throughout the film but it is the twists in the story that leave you satisfied. There are some moments that the film seemed to drag slightly but overall it is not only intriguing but fascinating in its own right. Some exceptional cinematography and a nice score help make this film all come together that leaves the audience satisfied in the end. McConaughey is transformed once again but this time he is over-weight, bald and just not all that pretty to look at naked. We all get there in time I guess! Yet he knocks it out of the park in regards to his character, once again he choose a role that truly shows off his star power. Howard was a great support to the life of Kenny as his girlfriend Kay and left you believing her character and her struggles. Ramirez was definitely the handsome one in this story and has a tendency of bringing strength and power to his scenes. Stoll doesn’t have a huge role but brings believability to it. Along with some wonderful supporting characters this is a well thought out and focused film that may not interest everyone but it is surely worth the attempt to prove them all wrong and go see it.