Michael Douglas and Shia LaBeouf succeed in showing us Wall Street traders might not be so heartless after all.
Directed by Oliver Stone, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” is a tempting choice for today’s movie buffs. Not only does it star two of Hollywood’s most successful actors, Shia LaBeouf and Carrie Mulligan, it gets the audience thinking. Stone, who directed the first film made in 1987, does a laudable job in tying thrill, romance, comedy and redemption all into one with a touch of criticism on the businessmen and women of Wall Street’s infamous tactics.
The film follows a young Wall Street trader named Jacob (Shia LaBeouf) as he struggles to withstand the economic disaster that is about to ensue following the suicide of his mentor/employer and the release of his fiancée’s disgraced father, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), from prison. Gekko, the antagonist from the first film, finishes serving his time for inside trading. Now he seems interested in reconciling with his daughter, Winnie (Carrie Mulligan), who stopped speaking to him after her brother died. Jacob attempts to win over Winnie’s father by helping him restore his relationship with her, while simultaneously obtaining information about Bretton (Josh Brolin), a man he suspects began the rumors that drove his boss to commit suicide. But when it comes to Gekko, you can never be completely sure of his intentions.
What the audience can be sure of, however, is that Michael Douglas will not disappoint as an actor.
As a whole, the film was entertaining. It was just as good as the first, perhaps even better, due to the modern cinematography, which even included pictographs to help the audience better grasp the marketing strategies. Considering that LaBeouf’s usual co-stars consist of computer generated robots or Hollywood vixens, he exceeded expectations with his performance as the sequel’s Bud Fox. At first, I wasn’t confident he would be the right choice to play a character like Bud Fox, but he proved his versatility as an actor and reminded me of a young Charlie Sheen. Carrie Mulligan did nothing less than a fantastic job as the damaged and distrustful daughter. Returning star Michael Douglas gave an impressive second performance as Gordon Gekko. Even Charlie Sheen made a short appearance as the more experienced and knowledgeable version of Bud Fox. Susan Surandon was the only disappointment as Jacob’s frantic, stubborn and spendthrift mother.
Stone’s sequel succeeds in showing a side of Wall Street that he disregarded in the first film: that Wall Street is not always about the money, but about the game and interaction between the players. This film makes an interesting attempt to humanize the game as well as the players on Wall Street. It does not glamorize greed, but defines wealth as the quality of relationships we acquire during our lives.
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