Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Updating a hit from the eighties may be Oliver Stone scraping at the bottom of a his proverbial barrel, but it seems that it works for him a bit. After years of hits and misses, well, mostly misses, it’s a refreshing to have a film from the iconic director that doesn’t totally suck. And as relevant as the actual Wall Street was in the late eighties, it is even more relevant today.  Best of all, Stone doesn’t skimp on the true details.  One who wasn’t familiar with the exact reasons megabanks fucked our economy can learn about it, and come to hate investments bankers as much of the rest of the world.

Michael Douglas, of course, reprises his role as the greedy former titan of industry Gordon Gekko.  The beginning of the film sees him released from prison around 2000, and the passage of time is made annoyingly obvious by the return of his Saved by the Bell model cell phone.  Gekko uses the next eight years to write a book.

Shia LaBeouf is the new Gekko named Jake, a young up-and-comer on Wall Street who seems to be a bit more idealistic, but is blinded by the multi-million dollar bonus checks, and billionaire mentors.  Jake just so happens to be engaged to Gekko’s estranged and pregnant daughter Winnie (a fantastic Carey Mulligan).

As you can guess, the markets fail, the government bails out investment banks before the world economy crashes.  Rich white men, steal and cheat other rich white men, while riding Ducatis and attending $10,000 a plate fundraisers where Charlie Sheen shows up dating twins.

Allan Loeb (Things We Lost in the Fire) and Stephen Schiff (The Deep End of the Ocean) worked together to come up with the usually tight, and well paced film.  But it’s Stone’s style that really brings the ridiculous atmosphere of Wall Street to life.  Although sometime he’s borders on the ridiculous (for some reason if a scene is shot in a night club, it’s shot all psychedelic-like).  At a few points in the film, it gets to be slightly too much, overly simplistic in its condemnation of Stone’s own characters (like in W. when he intimated Bush was so stupid, he got his entire cabinet lost on his own ranch).

But with all these complaints, I left Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps feeling like I had experienced a solid Zeitgeist film that ended on a weak note, but provided plenty of satisfying moments on the way.  Stone was very much aided by a terrific cast.  As much as I’d like to dismiss Shia LaBeouf as the next Spielberg golden boy, and nothing more, he actually put out a solid performance.  And Mulligan as Winnie is as perfect as anyone could hope the character could be.  Josh Brolin, Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, they’re all great.  As much as I like to despise Stone’s work, he didn’t do such a bad job on this one.


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3 Responses to “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”
  1. WEBSHERIFF says:

    Who You Gonna Call
    Tel +44(0)208-323 8013
    Fax +44(0)208-323 8080

    Hi Blake,

    On behalf of Twentieth Century Fox and the movie’s producers and
    distributors, many thanks for plugging “Wall Street : Money Never
    Sleeps” (aka “Wall Street 2”) … .. and if you / your readers want good
    quality, non-pirated, previews, then the official trailer is available
    for fans and bloggers to post / host / share etc at
    http://www.wallstreetmoneyneversleeps.com … .. for further details of on-line
    promotions for this movie and Fox releases generally, check-out
    http://foxinternational.com and the official YouTube channel at

    Thanks again for your plug.



  2. Rory Dean says:

    Hey Blake…Strange this continued mining for 80s films in the last year, though of course this is not a new technique for the Hollywood machine to dig up new/old material to feed the content monster. I haven’t seen this one, I only skimmed your review so as not to give anything away but you make some nice points about Stone and his career, his undeniable cinematic style (a true auteur in every way) and I hope the grab-bag of notable supporting actors lend more than plot-points in the film.

    I’ll return after the movie and after I’ve washed the butter off my fingers.

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