Friday, January 28, 2011

DVD--Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

or: Sequels that come a long time after.

One word to sum it up: Disappointing.

23 years was all it took to bring Gordon Gekko back to our screens and rattling off his philosophy of greed being good to anyone who will listen. How could you go wrong with that? Well, being the modern Oliver Stone, who last directed the sadly failed George Bush biopic W., there has to be some way of not doing it the right way. Those expecting full on Gekko in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps will be sadly disappointed. Instead, he becomes a supporting player to a love triangle between Shia LaBeouf, money and Carey Mulligan.

In 2001, corporate raider Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) completes a prison sentence for money laundering. No one is there to meet him. Jump seven years: Gekko is promoting his book, his estranged daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan) is a political blogger engaged to Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf), a hot-shot Wall Street trader, and an old nemesis of Gekko's, Bretton James (Josh Brolin), devours the firm Jake works for. When Jake's mentor takes his life, Jake wants revenge and Gordon may be the perfect ally. With the fiscal crisis of September 2008 as background, can Jake maintain Winnie's love, broker a rapprochement with her father, get his revenge, and find funds for a green-energy project he champions; or will greed trump all?

The performances in this are all fantastic. Shia LaBeouf takes the lead role in one of his first performances since that movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. He gives it his all, and carries those lulls in the script quite well. Carey Mulligan, who was Oscar nominated for her performance in An Education, puts on a perfect American accent and steals the always. Her and LaBeouf had excellent chemistry, which made their somewhat ordinary story easier to watch. Josh Brolin, the star of Jonah Hex and upcoming True Grit, takes another role of a villain, and, as always, plays it quite well. But we all know that the star of this movie is Michael Douglas. His Golden Globe nomination was well deserved (also was the standing ovation he received for beating cancer). He makes Gordon Gekko as scary as he was in the first film, and even though he is a supporting character, he still makes the film.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a fine sequel which even after 23 years of being off screen, Stone still finds ways to connect with the last one. We see Gekko's rather bulky 'mobile phone' and a cameo from Charlie Sheen as Bud Fox. The one thing Stone didn't carry through was the intense drama. The story is overrun by the soapie story of Winnie forgiving Gekko. Its nice to watch, but sometimes it feels like it belongs to another film, and just ends up making the runtime a little longer. In saying that, the very modern direction from Oliver Stone makes this movie worth its time. It has everything that could make a movie: great performances, great direction, quite a clever and intelligent screenplay. It just should have been better, thats all.

THE VERDICT: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a slightly long performance driven piece all about money. Fans of drama will definitely go for this.


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