Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Directed by: Oliver Stone Cast: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin, Susan Sarandon Running Time: 2 hrs 7 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: September 24, 2010
PLOT: Greed is back and so is Gordon Gekko (Douglas). Jacob (LaBeouf) is a young trader who is up and coming and also in love with Gekko's daughter. Jacob is looking for a mentor and a shot at dominating the financial world while the economy may collapse.
WHO'S IT FOR? Want to see LaBeouf in a different role? No giant robots here. Most will be checking out this sequel from 1987 become of Douglas' iconic character. You might be let down.
EXPECTATIONS: The idea of a 23-year-old sequel is pretty cool. Plus, Oliver Stone is back in the director's chair. I was looking forward to it.
Shia LaBeouf as Jacob Moore: It's LaBeouf's most adult role to date. Clearly Jacob is desperate for a father figure. They set the movie up well by making it all about him and his quest in the financial district. Gekko shows up at the perfect time to start weaving a web. There's an attempt to make Jacob a little too perfect. He's desperate for cash, but doesn't care about being rich. He's come close to breaking the law for a former boss, and truly cares about a small energy firm. It's all a little too much and you never know what is truly important to him. Score: 6
Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko: The cell phone joke is amusing. When Gekko gets out of prison, he's given back his personal property and he's handed a giant cell phone to show the passage of time. Next up, we see Gekko give a guest lecture. The audience is eating it up, but it's the audience actors in the movie who are truly enjoying him, not us. He's predicting everything that will happen in our economic system. He's also got the waving gray hair. But then there's a different Gekko. Be careful when he slicks back the hair. It's almost like the trick with the evil twin and a goatee. Gekko isn't someone you love to hate, or a cool dick, he's lost somewhere in the middle. Score: 5
Carey Mulligan as Winnie Gekko: I know Mulligan can act. She was great in An Education and Never Let Me Go. Maybe that's the problem. She's the lead in those movies, and here she's the token girlfriend/daughter. No, I can't blame Mulligan. This character is just awful. She's ended up with someone exactly like the father she hates. She's smart enough to know better, but it's never brought up. Then, there are two scenes where Gekko tries to win over Winnie. They didn't work on me, so how am I supposed to believe they work on her? Score: 3
Josh Brolin as Bretton James: He's my favorite here mainly because he's a dick, knows it, and still goes for what he wants. Bretton is all business. He has some past issues with Gekko and Jacob's former boss Lewis (Frank Langella). You'd think they would have his radar up with Jacob. At some point it seems the film attempts to make Bretton the villain. I never saw it that way. Score: 7
Susan Sarandon as Sylvia Moore: Sylvia is Jacob's mom and also a real-estate agent. This is supposed to give us yet another perspective on the final crisis that really went on in our nation. It didn't fit and was a waste of Sarandon's talents. Score: 4
TALKING: Blah, blah, blah, financial terms, blah, blah, blah, financial terms. I understand what really happened with default loans in this country. That means I understand what this movie was trying to explain. Otherwise, you might struggle. Plus, they just didn't make the connection between Gekko, Jacob and the housing market. Gekko has the best line saying, "That's like a monkey dancing on a razor blade." Score: 5
SIGHTS: Stone is trying something new here and we're suffering for it. Numbers literally, not figuratively, fly through the streets of New York. A line graph also tries to mirror the skyline of the city. It's distracting and actually serves to remove you from the film instead of making New York City another character in the movie. There are also extended shots of "rich." You'll have plenty of time to notice expensive earring and outfits at a fundraising event. There's also a terribly misplaced motorcycle country road race. Score: 4
SOUNDS: I love me some David Byrne from "The Talking Heads." But now I realize he has his place, and it's not in this movie. The songs of Byrne and Brian Eno fill the soundtrack. They always seem intrusive. This wasn't the case when some of their previous songs were in the original Wall Street. Times have changed. Score: 4
BEST SCENE: The beginning was actually pretty good, with the attempt at making its own story instead of just a sequel to Wall Street. It slowly fell apart though.
ENDING: Which one? I feel like there were four endings, with one of them seeming more appropriate for the ending of Dan in Real Life. I was openly laughing at the film at this point.
QUESTIONS: Why try to squeeze so much? Make a financial film about the housing market OR a Wall Street sequel. Not both.
REWATCHABILITY: I would watch it again only to figure out the exact moment where I stopped caring. Again, I started off liking this film.
Greed for lack of a better word is ... Oh, I don't really care anymore. In fact, I disagree with the title of this film completely. Money should sleep. Maybe some quick naps during the late afternoon. It needs to just refresh itself, and then maybe something could have been made from this mess of a movie. Matt Damon's Green Zone tried to give us an "I told you so" instant history lesson. Now it's being done with Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and the housing market scandal. There's something uncomfortable about these stories and it comes with the perfect perspective and knowledge that time grants. More importantly with this, the collapse of our economy really seemed squeezed in there. In fact, we have three separate stories and no gel in between them. We have the economic crisis, a young couple trying to make it, and Gordon Gekko. I loved the idea of a sequel 23 years later with the key players (actor, director) coming back. That's the only thing I loved about the application of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
FINAL SCORE: 5/10