I really can’t say if I’ve seen “Wall Street” or not. It’s one of those movies I never saw during their theatrical runs, but which I eventually caught later on TV or video. Others include “Top Gun” and “Dirty Dancing.” But, in some way, it feels like I’ve seen “Wall Street,” like I know the characters.
Anyway, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” is the very belated sequel–belated in two ways, actually. It opens 23 years after the original movie, which of course is exceptionally late. But this movie was supposed to open much earlier this year. It had its world premiere at the Cannes festival in May, but, after that screening, they decided to tamper with the movie. And now, when it finally opens, they have extra bad luck, since Michael Douglas is suffering from cancer, a fact that overshadows the movie.
The first movie ended with ruthless trader Gordon Gekko (Douglas) being thrown in prison. Now he’s been released, and director Oliver Stone gets a few laughs from Gekko getting his enormous mobile telephone back.
Young Shia LaBeouf is Jake Moore, a promising trader on Wall Street. But that’s not enough–he’s also living with a girl called Winnie (Carey Mulligan), who absolutely doesn’t want to hear of her father, who turns out to be Gordon Gekko.
Frank Langella is Louis Zabel, Jake’s mentor, but, when Zabel loses everything, he commits suicide. The man responsible is the tough, utterly ruthless Bretton James (Josh Brolin, who has one of the best faces in Hollywood–great chin!).
Gordon Gekko has written a bestselling book and is touring and holding popular lectures. He’s approached by Jake at one such lecture. All Gekko wants is to be reconciled with his daughter. In return, he helps Jake out in the world of trading. Gekko is about to turn into a good guy. Or does he have other plans, after all?
Indeed, Oliver Stone has written the screenplays for “Conan the Barbarian” and “Scarface,” two of my favorite movies, but I often have problems with the guy as a director. He usually makes his point within five minutes, and then he keeps on repeating it for another two hours. And that’s more or less what he does in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” as well. The global economy is on the brink of disaster, yeah, we get it, dude!
The movie is, of course, very competently made, Michael Douglas chews the sceneries, but it all feels big, inflated and–gammy. Like it’s stepped on a sharp stone. (An Oliver Stone, perhaps? Ka-dish!) The movie never really takes off, I don’t really care about the story and the characters, and it has a tendency of getting rather boring. It’s also a very long movie. What did you expect? It’s directed by Oliver Stone, for chrissakes.
I didn’t see the movie at Cannes, but the version released does look a little strange in a few places. In the beginning, the fact that Jake has bought an engagement ring is carefully planted. Will it be stolen? Is he going to drop it? The story about the ring is then totally forgotten, as if scenes are missing. And a couple of scenes in the subway are curiously jumpy, and I wonder if they really were supposed to be like that.
Charlie Sheen’s character, Bud Fox, from the first movie, pops up for a couple of seconds, and Stone himself has a cameo as well. Eli Wallach, who’s 94, has a rather big part. Amazing guy, who’s going to get an honorary Oscar next year.