You feel weirdly uninvolved, and ever more unsurprised by the lurches of fate.
The movie is a mess, but it's also an oddly amoral mess.
If a single performance could make a film, Gold would be, well, solid. McConaughey whoops and hollers and canters, delivering gimlet-eyed eulogies to the precious metal that has long bewitched him, but the film doesn't hold half the heat of his obsession.
Except for McConaughey's performance, there is little sense of urgency or adventurousness in the way the narrative plays out.
It's hard to call this ode to the common businessman a success, but it's just a little bit harder to call it a failure.
McConaughey deep dives into his role as a mad-dog prospector like a starving man sitting down to a feast. As a movie, Gold is slim pickings. But McConaughey keeps you riveted.
Not even all of McConaughey's substantial powers can overcome director Stephen Gaghan's lacklustre vision or the screenwriters' muddy narrative.
McConaughey does everything he can to make it shine, but the mine is empty.
"Gold" mostly works. It's just a few ounces shy of solid entertainment.