Synopsis: Gordon Gekko is released from jail and tries to make a comeback, as well as reconcile with his estranged daughter.
Release Date: September 24, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
At this very moment America is struggling with its worse economic climate since The Great Depression. With that said, it would seem a sequel to controversial director Oliver Stone’s Wall Street would be perfectly catered to American audiences craving indictments for the suits responsible. Unfortunately Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is not so much about financial meltdown than it is about Gordon Gekko’s reconciliation with his daughter. Gordon Gekko, a former Wall Street king who went to jail in the 80s, is finally released from prison in pre-9/11 2001. He gets his belongings back including one preposterously over-sized 1980s cell phone, he earns his freedom, and yet there’s no one there waiting at the gates. The movie then flash-forwards seven years to 2008 where Gekko’s daughter, Winnie (Carey Mulligan), is dating a hot-shot Wall Street trader named Jake (Shia LaBeouf), she runs her own successful website, and yet daddy Gekko is still absent from her life. The melodrama is not necessarily a bad thing mainly due to a terrific cast able to bring life to the film’s various characters, but frustrated viewers expect more than cheesy music selection, split-screen gimmicks, and bubble metaphors to explain our nation’s current cluster $*@#. This is not to say the movie completely ignores topics of relevance as Gordon Gekko promotes his new book with lectures frowning upon speculation, rumors are shown to be the cause of company downfall as well as lives, questions of capitalism vs. socialism are raised with the 2008 bailout, Jake’s passionate about clean technology and fusion, and even Susan Sarandon makes a cameo as a failed real estate agent. And still it’s not enough. We want incendiary filmmaking from a maverick director; instead we’re left with a film where Money Never Sleeps, but its audiences just might.
Although the film may ultimately suffer from an unfocused screenplay and a lack of bold direction, the terrific cast of actors nearly save the day. Shia LaBeouf does a good job of bringing confidence to the screen as well as sincere grief, tenderness, and heartbreak. Carey Mulligan turns in another admirably earnest performance, as it seems she’s made to cry in almost every scene she’s in. And of course it’s a great experience witnessing Michael Douglas reprise his Oscar-winning role as Gordon Gekko. It’s touching seeing Gekko sincerely reflect on the life he’s lost, and on the life he wants back as he reconciles with his daughter. But it’s absolutely enthralling seeing Douglas back in the shoes of the true Gekko: ruthless, slick, conniving, and a total master player of the game. On top of three fantastic performances, a round of cameos makes the film even more worthwhile. Josh Brolin as Bretton James, especially in one particular confrontation with Gekko, is likably despicable, veteran actor Eli Wallach as Jules Steinhardt and Susan Sarandon as Jake’s Mother are very entertaining, and Frank Langella as Jacob’s mentor Louis Zabel is nothing but convincing as his company as well as his life comes to a close. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps has in its hands an extremely gifted group of actors; if only the movie offered more for them to do.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Oliver StoneEdward R. Pressman
- Producer(s): Allan LoebStephen Schiff
- Screenwriter(s): Michael Douglas (Gordon Gekko)Shia LaBeouf (Jake Moore)Josh Brolin (Bretton James)
- Story: Carey Mulligan (Winnie Gekko)
- Cast: Eli Wallach (Jules Steinhardt)Susan Sarandon (Jake’s Mother) David BrennerJulie MonroeRodrigo Prieto
- Cinematographer: Craig Armstrong
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