The 2016 movie Gold, starring Matthew McConaughey and Edgar Ramirez, is a fictionalized account of the infamous Bre-X mining scandal in Indonesia. The movie is primarily about an American’s pursuit of a gold mine in the jungles of Borneo. Here are some reasons expats would find it amusing to watch.
1. The language problem
Of course, this is the most evident issue for foreigners arriving and settling in the country. In the movie, you will see Kenny Wells, Matthew McConaughey’s character, resort to non-verbal and animated gestures to talk to local miners. He even got down on his knees in the mud to plead with them.
Edgar Ramirez’s character, Michael Acosta, had an easier time than Wells. He already had a bit of a handle on the local language primarily because he had been in the country longer than Wells. He was the one talking to local miners and convincing them to work for him and Wells.
2. Malaria and the tropics
Travel experts would suggest that one undergo malaria prophylaxis, as the country’s climate supports the reproduction of malaria-bearing mosquitoes. A prophylaxis is done to prevent malaria symptoms from appearing.
Maybe due to his excitement, Wells apparently forgot to take some preventive measures against the disease. While everyone else was mining the ground for gold, he was shivering in his hut, drifting in and out of consciousness.
Of course, Wells and Acosta wore tropical clothes (cotton shirts and trousers). And Acosta advised Wells to bring a hat.
3. Lush and green forests
The movie didn’t spend too much time gathering footage in metropolitan areas in Indonesia. Instead, it focused on the deep jungles of Borneo. It was a stark contrast from the high-rise jungle of New York, where Acosta and Wells did business. In Acosta’s words, “You do not understand because you haven’t been in the jungle yourselves.”
Acosta, despite being in the country for a while, was still in awe when they arrived in the deep jungles of Borneo. Wells too was amazed by the scenery. The film effectively shows the lushness of the green tropical forest.
4. Money goes a long way
Acosta, whom Wells designated as the expert in all things Indonesian, stated early on that money goes a long way in the country. He was letting Wells in on the secret of how cash can come in handy, especially when local officials aren’t exactly too keen on giving mining permission to foreign miners.
Still, Acosta may have said it in terms of ‘giving reasonable salaries’ to our local miners. At one point the duo ran out of money, and their local employees went on strike.
Aside from those instances, one scene depicts how many locals will come at you hawking their services upon a foreigner’s’ arrival.
5. The gold mine
Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, and many foreigners seek to invest in the country. In Wells’ and Acosta’s time, it was the promise of a gold mine in the Bornean jungle. Unfortunately, the gold industry came under fire, and the business became less popular.
Despite the industry’s many issues, Indonesia is still host to many foreigners who dream of striking it rich in the country and sticking it to Wall Street. For the duo, it was a balance between making a profit and fostering the local community.