Wall Street - Money Never Sleeps
starring Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeauf, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin, Eli Wallach and Frank Langella
written by Allan Loeb and Stephen Schiff
directed by Oliver Stoneper’s
Gordon Gekko, one of the great modern cinema villains, is released from prison after eight years for financial crimes. He writes a book and lectures on finances. He’s a lot quieter than the old Gordon Gekko, but is he a changed man? Yes and no. Gekko is human. He has a heart. And a daughter we didn’t know about in the original Wall Street(1987). But he still connives to make deals and amass money, not so much because he wants it, but because he cando it. It’s not the thrill of chasing money. It’s the psychological thrill of financial dueling and dealing with others. His daughter Winnie’s boyfriend is Jake Moore, a moral banker/Wall Street guy. By comparison, Jake is a better man than Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) in the original. Winnie is the nexus that brings Gekko and Jake together.
Josh Brolin gives a great performance as the über-financier Bretton James whom Gekko and Jake set out to destroy - Gekko as payback for his sufferings in prison to which Bretton contributed, and Jake because Bretton is just a nasty piece of greedy work.
The story revolves around financial market speculation bubbles and bubble bursts and especially draws on the familiar near-collapse of the U.S. and global economies in 2008 following the implosion of the sub-prime housing loan market and banks that were dealing in them.
Cameo appearances by Charlie Sheen, revising his role of Bud Fox from the original movie -for about sixty-seconds. Also, Oliver Stone himself appears as a nameless investor. I immediately recognized his face.
Shia LaBeauf’s cell phone ring tone is the harmonica and whistling theme music from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966, directed by Sergio Leone), in which Eli Wallach co-starred. I wonder how many viewers picked up on it? Eli Wallach is another great villain. He looks like a quiet, gentle grandpa. But his movie characters often seem like Screwtape. Dealing with him is dealing with the Devil in disguise. That was the case in The Godfather Part III (1990), and that’s the case here, too.
Original music is by David Byrne and Brian Eno. Now there are some fantastic names in pop music history. Remember?