Review – WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS
WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS picks up where the original left off. Michael Douglas returns in his Oscar-winning role as Gordon “Greed is Good” Gekko. Emerging from a lengthy prison stint pre 9-11, the disgraced Gekko finds himself on the outside of a world he once dominated. His mission now in life is two-fold as we jump to 2008. For one, he’s looking to repair his damaged relationship with his daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan), by forming an alliance with her fiancee Jake (Shia LaBeouf). Together these two attempt to destroy the newest corporate raider on the block, Bretton James (Josh Brolin) who instigated Jake’s mentor, Louis Zabel (Frank Langella), to commit suicide after his company was left in ruins. Secondly, Gekko is also trying to warn Jake and the rest of the world that certain questionable business practices within the financial community will cause a major economic collapse.
Director Oliver Stone tries to move the film along with one-liners written by Allan Loeb and Stephen Schiff, only to use contrived, symbolic scenes of falling dominoes and bursting bubbles to reinforce the global financial crisis of 2008 - a sequel that many were not clamoring for. However, some of the highlights worth noting are the many musical numbers by David Byrne of Talking Heads. Just as he did in the original WALL STREET, Byrne once again provides many new songs for the sequel. Look for noticable performances from the 2011 AMPAS Governors Award Recipient, Eli Wallach, as Jules Steinhardt and a brief appearance from Charlie Sheen’s Bud Fox. I wouldn’t be surprised if Michael Douglas sees another Academy Award Best Actor nomination for his portrayal of Gordon Gekko. For a second time, Douglas easily wears the conniving Wall Street garb with such ease and charm.
Unfortunately, even with the combination of director, a-list cast, and screenplay, I wasn’t sold on this sequel. Crowds will either not have seen it or not remember Fox’s $43 million original 1987 WALL STREET. I was uneasy with the theme, what with these ongoing hard times, and Stone’s patronizing speeches to the audience. True, the film’s plot of financial meltdown is current, but audiences won’t want to take this kind of a stroll down memory lane for 2 long and tedious hours. As engaging as the film tries to be, in the end Fox’s reboot falls short.
WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS rated PG-13 for brief strong language and thematic elements and has a running time of 132 minutes.