'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' (dir: Oliver Stone, 2010), Cert: 12A
Cinema’s biggest shark has finally returned for a second round; after a 23 year wait, director Oliver Stone has opened the prison cell bars and released Gordon Gekko once again. Gekko was the king of Wall Street in Stone’s original picture, but now he’s a small fish in a huge pond trying to rebuild his financial empire. Michael Douglas won an Oscar for his role as Gekko in the 1987 picture, but will he be collecting another golden statue for this movie?
Jacob Moore (Shia LaBeouf) is a young and successful banker working for Keller Zabel Investments, deep in the heart of New York’s Wall Street. He is driven by the idea of energy investment and production, and he’s eager to succeed. Moore is engaged to Winnie Gekko (Carey Mulligan); the daughter of Wall Street legend Gordon (Douglas) who has been released from prison and is promoting his new book entitled ‘Is Greed Good?’ Jacob wants Winnie to be re-united with her father so he goes to meet him. Gordon and Jacob become close and start working with each other, a relationship that’s great for business but terrible for his relationship with Winnie. Bretton James (Josh Brolin), the CEO of Churchill Schwartz has kept a close eye on Moore and he’s going to cause even more problems for the young businessman. Can the young idealist really survive in the deep and dark waters of America’s financial district?
I’m surprised ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’ actually even came out after all the delays and problems it suffered. Due out in February, which was then pushed back to April, and pushed back to 6th October in the UK, it seems that Stone and 20th Century Fox really wanted a decent gap in the market before releasing the movie, which is ironic as internet business movie ‘The Social Network’ has already started previewing around the country, but at least we’ve finally got to see it anyway.
As a huge fan of ‘Wall Street’ I was eager and excited to see this film, especially as I’m a big fan of LaBeouf and Mulligan. It’s safe to say I wasn’t disappointed. For a Stone film, it has real pace and doesn’t feel stupidly long which is refreshing. The film is beautifully edited; with graphs flowing across the New York skyline, and digits and figures scrolling down the screen and across the character’s faces, it’s really pretty to look at. It’s also very well directed; you can see Stone’s passion for the project ooze out of the shots and camera angles he uses, something which is a trademark of his filmmaking skill. The script is also marvellous; it’s laced with sarcasm, drama and wit which will have some viewers grabbing their sides and others lolling in the personal and work relationships and atmosphere that surrounds these characters.
It also has fantastic performances; LaBeouf is brilliant as Moore, he has real energy and determination which is not only great for his character, but for him as an actor. I think he’s a real screen presence and I love watching his films. Mulligan is also very good as Winnie, she spends a lot of time crying but her emotional performance is believable and heart-felt. As for Douglas, he’s just fabulous as ever. It seems that even though he’s aged, Gekko really does live inside him and this film really allows the famous character to develop further. Brolin is also very good and seems to be the ‘new’ Gekko for this film, he’s the villain and he performs it perfectly. Frank Langella also appears briefly in this movie but he really engages the audience with his short slot.
The only real problem with the movie is not much actually happens. You are involved with the picture because you like and care for the characters, but the actual events that unfold don’t seem to affect the script enough, but I’m going to see it again so maybe I’ll get more story from a second viewing.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film and despite little problems, it’s a great financial drama that’s charismatic, funny and charming, plus it works well as a sequel or a stand-alone film. You really don’t need to see the original to understand this film.
Verdict: 4 out of 5 – Gekko is definitely back and he means business. Knockout performances, witty scripting and a heard of money terminologies you never thought you’d hear.
By Chris Haydon