WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS - A Good 'Buy'
WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS (drama sequel)
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Michael Douglas, Carey Mulligan, Charlie Sheen, Susan Sarandon, Josh Brolin, Vanessa Ferlito, Frank Langella and Natalie Morales
Director: Oliver Stone
Writers: Stanley Weiser, Allan Loeb and Oliver Stone
Time: 130 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: Oliver Stone has apparently never made a sequel before and it is understandable if he felt compelled to revisit the saga of Gordon Gekko after 23 years. After all, his 1987 Wall Street, which was released just two months after the infamous Black Monday meltdown of 19 October 1987, was a pot-boiler of insider-trading shenanigans that resonated well with the public and the Academy.
People have short memories and the reason given for making this sequel can be found in Gekko's quote "I once said 'Greed is good', now it seems it's legal."
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Gekko (Michael Douglas) is released after serving time in prison. He finds that the world has changed - and yet many things remain the same. His daughter, Winnie (Carey Mulligan) still won't talk to him; the housing market is working itself into a bubble - and Greed is like going on a Frenzy on Wall Street.
However, Gekko's story is but a subplot. The main story is on Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf), a proprietary trader of an investment bank whose fiancee is Winnie Gekko. After the death of his boss and mentor (Frank Langella), Jake is determined to find out who is responsible and wreak revenge. Meanwhile, after attending a lecture by Gekko, Jake offers to patch things up with Gekko and his daughter.
HITS & MISSES: While we share the relationship problems among Jake, Winnie and Gordon Gekko, the movie's most entertaining aspect is watching the world, or Wall Street in particular, through Gordon's eyes. "I was small-time compared to these crooks," he commented. Apparently, prison hasn't cowed Gekko, it just gave him more time to think and sharpen his perceptions. And Douglas is at his best reprising the role for which he won the Best Actor Oscar. He gives Gekko the sheen that transforms the ex-convict into a respected hero.
Another stand-out performance comes from Josh Brolin who gives his billionaire raider Bretton James a cool and calculated approach to corporate villainy. LaBeouf looks a little young and nerdy for his role but most youngsters in the audience should be able to root for his character. Mulligan (above, with LaBeouf) is likeable in a role that evokes sympathy. But watch out for Charlie Sheen in a cameo as Bud Fox, Eli Wallach as a Wall Street patriarch, Susan Sarandon doing comic relief as Jake's mom, and Stone himself as an investor.
Talking about Stone, he seems to allow himself a few technical indulgences, like going for multiple screens, digital graphics to explain market jargon and CNN-like reporting. These, of course, helps to update the movie and make it more relevant and compelling.
THE LOWDOWN: Expect good dividends for your the price of your ticket.