Sunday 10 October 2010

Review: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Year: 2010
Director: Oliver Stone
Screenplay: Stephen Schiff, Allan Loeb
Starring: Micheal Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Frank Langella, Josh Brolin

Synopsis is here

While Oliver Stone's original Wall Street is not his best film, there's something about it that still feels relevant despite it's look being so cemented in the eighties. Despite it's odd narrative beats, the films acidity had an all too true to life aspect about it, and it's a vitriolic insight to excess literally oozes of the screen. After being in sales interviews, meetings and the like, it doesn't shock me that many people in those circles still walk and talk like the snake-like Gorden Gekko.

It's surprising, that not only someone felt that we needed a Wall Street sequel, but that everyone involved with this film had made something so toothless. Stone, a director known for his strong mindedness has once again shown a lack of ferocity that has reared it's head once again in his more recent endeavors. One of the the things that make/made Stone films such a fascinating watch, is even if you didn't agree with the message, you could at least admire the balls.

Stone's movie like it's characters, wants too much too soon. It wants to talk about Jake Moore (LeBeouf) and Winnie Gekko (Mulligan) and their story, it wants to mention that Jake's mother (Sarandon) is also bitten by excess, it wants to show that Gorden Gekko, has changed his spots...or not, it wants to have Jake have THREE mentors in the film, including (along with Gekko), boo-hiss bad guy Bretton James (an Oliy Josh Brolin) and poor soul, old dog Louis Zebel (underused but still memorable Frank Langella). It wants to talk about the the recent crash but it all wants to hint at the idea of alternative energies. It also wants to have wry references to the original film, including a cameo that is very misguided.

It wants to do all this with a dazzlingly array of mindless visual tics and stock talk. But it forgets that it's Stone works best when he is single minded and angry. Platoon and Wall Street, with their simple good and evil battles seem born out of frustration, constructed by concern. Here Stone not only wishes to try and place everything under the microscope but with rose tinted specs.

Flashes of interest crop up. For one it's great to see Micheal Douglas play the Gekko role with relish once more, despite being ridiculously diluted, Shia LaBeouf is more charming as a broker than Charlie Sheen and despite being on the verge of tears throughout, Mulligan is works far better as a love interest in this than Dayrll Hannah's vapid designer in the first film. Moments of the film (the dinner meeting between the Gekkos, Gordan's speech)  have a certain sharpness to it that is hard to ignore. But as with W, Stone doesn't seem as annoyed with things as he once was. This could explain the melodramatic feel to the whole proceedings, which climaxes with a sickeningly sweet ending that ties everything up way too easily. What made the end codec of the first film so appealing that comeuppance came but it a moment of true closure.  There was a sense of justice occurs in both the situation and the character. Wall Streets: MNS doesn't have the true feeling. Much like the rest of the film, you getting feeling that someone or something is coming off light. So much more could have been said.