Monday, October 4, 2010

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Finally, I got the time to check out this movie over the weekend. I’m talking about ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’. This movie is a sequel to the movie ‘Wall Street’ which was released back in late 1980s. I didn’t see that movie until few years later when I was in college while taking a English course that wanted us to write a review about how business world was being presented in Hollywood movies. I forgot what I wrote, what I can recall now is that I didn’t feel much about that story. That movie didn’t leave a deep footprint in my memory. All I remember was the mentor-protégé relationship between Michael Douglas, his slick-combed hairstyle with a eagle-vision while saying ‘Greed is good’ to a microphone, and Charlie Sheen, the young and handsome costar who tried to heck his mentor down in the crocodile pit of financial world. That’s about it. Of course, we all know that Michael Douglas won in the Oscar and his line ‘Greed is good’ became one of the most memorable lines in movies.

Now, after more than 2 decades, here comes the sequel. The world has changed, but greed is not only good, but legal as well, as told by Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas in the movie. Well, he looks much older (that’s natural. On top of that, he has throat cancer in real life), but better than ever, particularly for playing this role. I read a few critics of the movie beforehand which had kinda lowered my expectation of it. So, I was a bit patient with the flow of the movie and didn’t expect much from it. The result was actually ok. It is a decent movie after all.

Certainly, Michael Douglas outplayed all other characters in the movie. Shia LaBeouf is supposed to be the main character of the movie, he played a decent character which gave him to show a wider range of acting range than other movies like Transformers. It shows that he can act, but still has a long way to go before we can say that he is a good actor. His wife who is daughter of Gordon Gekko, played by Carey Mulligan, is an important role in the movie as well. Her acting is fine but to me is still forgettable. The supposed to be bad guy Josh Brolin is simply too cartoonish and one dimensional. This movie is supposed to partially reflect the Financial Tsunami in 2008 and borrowed some truths from real life characters on the Street. I read that some real life financial heavyweights did provide some supports and advice to Oliver Stone in the movie making process. Josh Brolin’s character was supposed to be Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan. I don’t know how much was true as depicted in the movie, like those motorcycle race, painting collection, etc, but the character of Josh Brolin is just dumb and far from anything that I’ve read about Jamie Dimon. Susan Sarandon played Shia’s mom is good on it own, but that’s exactly why it didn’t help much in the movie overall. The surprise cameo of Charlie Sheen is really nice. His scene with Michael Douglas is nostalgic but he looks really worn off in the movie, he didn’t age well at all.

About the story itself, I think it is decent, but certainly couldn’t be much better. I hope it spent more time in about depicting the characters of the Wall Street heavyweights, how they react differently while facing the crisis. I mean more interaction among them. Cuz, simply showing bald guy with cigar in the mouth while packing up, and the old dude holding his crane and making the sound a bird are just too cartoonish. Instead, their characters should have more ‘meat’ and depths, also how the world being affected by Wall Street should be added as well. I understand that the story line of Shia, his wife and Michal Douglas is important, but I think it would be better if they could be more closely tie to the broader scope of Wall Street crisis than what has been presented on the screen. Otherwise, the story of those 3 characters could easily be a serious version of ‘Meet the parents’. Anyway, this movie is still shoulder on Michael Douglas, whenever he is on screen, he shines. Generally speaking, for the sake of nostalgia and Michael Douglas, this movie is still worth seeing.

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