Archive for the ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’ Category

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps – review

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps – viewed 9/24/10

I always think it’s interesting when sequels are made of dramatic films.  It seems that action films always get the sequel treatment, and other films that would be great to visit 20 odd years later never seem to get that chance.  The Color of Money as the sequel to The Hustler is a great example of a dramatic sequel done right. The two films that are classics, and that’s what I was hoping for with the sequel to the original Wall Street. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a good example of why not to make a sequel of a dramatic film.

We join Gordon Gekko 13 years later upon his release from prison.  No one is waiting for him when he gets out, especially not his daughter,Winnie, played by Carrie Mulligan, who wants nothing to do with the man.  The film then immediately jumps to 7 years after that as Gekko is on a book tour promoting his book, Is Greed Good? It seems that Gordon is a changed man ever since prison, or perhaps he has some unfinished business left on the table.

The majority of the film takes place during 2008, one of the worst financial times in the history of our country, when the housing market collapsed, billions of dollars where lost, and many men and women hit rock-bottom. It only makes sense that the film would take place during this time, a time when Gekko could try and make his mark again.

Enter Jake Moore, Winnie’s fiance (Shia LeBouf).  He’s a Long Island kid who worked his way up from nothing and was soon mentored by Louis Zabel (Frank Langella) the head of a private equity firm, one of the giants of Wall Street.  Jake is obsessed with the genius of Gordon Gekko, which doesn’t really make sense that Winnie would want to marry a man just like her father, seeing as how she hates him so much…daddy issues I guess.

Jake begins seeing Gekko and agrees to help try and repair the relationship between him and his daughter.  Jake is taking over in the Bud Fox role played by Charlie Sheen as the young upstart who still has faith in mankind.  They are essentially the same character.  It makes sense that Gordon would latch on to him.

Now all is well and good up to this point as it seems we are going to have some nice play between the three main characters, but for some reason director Oliver Stone decides to throw in a shitload more characters, and a ridiculously confusing sub-plot that involves Josh Brolin as a rival trader, something about nuclear fission, Susan Sarandon as Jake’s mother, a struggling real estate agent, and Bud Fox in a cameo that is embarrassing to even watch.  The story becomes so convoluted and confusing it’s hard to even pay attention, or make sense out of anything.

The original Wall Street was so good because it focused on the corruption and power of the main characters and the interaction between them. The financial market was just a back-drop in which that story of power was to take place.  They didn’t get to caught up in the intricacies of the financial market.  The sequel, on the other hand, focuses far to much on companies being bought, sold, collapsing, hedging, you name it.  You would HAVE to be a financial analyst to understand anything that goes on.

The acting is also way off point, but I would have to put the blame on director Oliver Stone, and a bad script for this.  Shia Lebouf and Carrie Mulligan, are both top notch actors, but it seems that every scene with them has them uncontrollably crying,  and holding each other, as Carrie blames everything on her father, and Shia whispers, “It’ll all be ok baby.” Douglas, however steals the show and he really is fantastic through-out.  He comes off as a some what broken man, but still has that fierceness to him that we saw two decades before.

There’s back-stabbing, there’s lies, deceit, there’s everything the original Wall Street had, but it comes off more as a ball of string that slowly unravels to the core from beginning to end in this one.  They should have just left well enough alone.

Grade: C-