Thursday, 23 September 2010

Wall Street Money Never Sleeps: Movie Review

Wall Street Money Never Sleeps: Movie Review

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Rating: 5/10
Cast: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Susan Sarandon, James Brolin, Frank Langella
Director: Oliver Stone
It's 23 years since Gordon Gekko headed to prison at the end of Wall Street - and since then, the real financial world has seen major changes.
The sequel to Wall Street begins with Gekko heading out of prison, collecting his belongings (including that trademark chunky mobile phone) and trying to rediscover his place in the world.
At the same time, Shia LaBeouf's Jacob Moore, an investment banker whose dream is in the energy sector and who's part of successful bank Keller Zabel, run by his mentor Lewis Zabel (Langella).
Moore's also dating Gekko's estranged daughter Winnie (Mulligan) - after watching Gekko speak, Moore turns to Gekko for advice.
However, when things financially hit the skids as the global recession begins to bite, Zabel commits suicide and Moore begins to suspect Josh Brolin's Bretton James may have been involved - and he vows revenge.
And Gekko sees - and seizes - the opportunity to exert his power...
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a curious film - there's splashes of the usual Oliver Stone extravagance on the directing front but there's also flashes of genius too. One particular trick sees Stone outlining the skylines of New York and London with the share market ups and downs; it's a clever visual touch which stands out.
Also standing out is Michael Douglas who once again burns everyone else off the screen as Gekko - his manipulating, scheming presence may have slightly softened this time round but with that steely twinkle in his eye, Douglas manages to imbue the post recession Gekko with a harshness which is welcome.
Shia LaBeouf gives his character a punky and slightly cocky feel but he manages to keep up with Douglas; it's good to see him maturing as an actor rather than simply fighting robots all the time.
Sadly Carey Mulligan's Winnie is perhaps the weak link in all of this - she spends a lot of time moping and looking forlorn as Gekko's daughter - it's a shame as the character feels underwritten and underused.

That said Oliver Stone's woven an intelligent film together which takes an insider look at the financial wheelings and dealings which brought the world to the brink - it shows that a financial expert's had a hand on the script. The problem is that it goes a little too far into financial speak and despite the drama's being there, it's as if Stone's unveiling yet another conspiracy (though this time it's factual) and the film suffers a little because of it.
But it's the treatment of Gekko which is the most disappointing - the character changes so much in the final reel that you almost feel cheated at the end.

Oh and yes there is a cameo from someone in the original film too - a nice touch which will appeal to fans.

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