Gekko Going for Broker
23 years is a long time, cell phones have got smaller and smarter, my favourite actors have got older and politicians have got younger. And 23 years is a very long time between movies when it comes to "Wall Street" and its sequel "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" because in those years cinema has changed and the sequel is a movie made for a new generation of movie fans. It is why having watched Oliver Stone's "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" part of me is disappointed whilst still being entertained, as whilst we have the return of Michael Douglas as the legendary Gordon Gekko it is a very different movie to the one which epitomised the 80s. It is also a movie which sadly doesn't match the might of the original, over complicating matters through flashy styling and a technical side which whilst maybe being comprehensible to those with a degree in finance leaves the average guy on the street bamboozled.
Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas - Ghosts of Girlfriends Past) is out, after doing his time he is a free man with a book to promote all about greed and envy and how the current economic climate is in danger. Gordon is right with the imminent collapse of the stock market but it also brings him in to contact with his estranged daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan - The Greatest) and her stock broker boyfriend Jake (Shia LaBeouf - Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen). With Jake's mentor taking his own life when his business collapses Jake ends up going to Gordon for advice who sees an opportunity to get revenge on Bretton James (Josh Brolin), a major player in his down fall. The question is whilst Jake maybe sharp can he really trust the Gekko?
The first thing to strike me when I put "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" on was the look, this is a movie which is full of snappy edits, fancy graphics and quick cuts. It reminded me as to how much cinema has changed over 20 years because it is vastly different in look to the original "Wall Street" and to me seems to be a movie made for a younger generation rather than those who were captivated by Gordon Gekko preaching "Greed is Good" back in the 80s. Whilst I can appreciate this as well as appreciating the skill in creating such a stylized, fast paced movie I can't say it did a lot for me and at times appeared to be more about a clever shot than the actual story.
This snappy styling also causes problems during the first half because in trying to be fast paced and frenetic it made it hard to get to grips with what is going on. This is made worse by countless scenes dominated by financial geek speak which whilst probably very authentic is difficult to follow for those without a degree in finance and a knowledge of stock trading. It gets to the point where you struggle to make sense of it all other than Gordon being out and on the prowl whilst the company which Jake works for has basically been shafted by another financial institution. Maybe you are not meant to follow what all the stock trading talk is about but it does "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" little favour by trying to sound so clever.
And to be honest the frenetic styling and over technical side is a shame because "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" is not really a complicated movie. We have a storyline about Jake being bitter over the collapse of the company and his boss/ friend taking his own life with him seeking revenge on Bretton James for being behind it all. We also have the complexity of the relationships as Jake is engaged to Winnie who has little love for her father but a lot of mistrust. And of course we have the charismatic Gordon Gekko out and on the prowl, biding his time and manipulating things so that you are not sure whether he can be trusted or not. All of which is set against a backdrop of economic crisis as financial institutions collapse and some get pulled up on dodgy dealings. It means that what is a nice well though out story becomes harder to follow because of the style and the attempt to deliver financial speak at break neck pace.
The knock on effects of this is that whilst you can follow these storylines when you stop trying to decipher all the financial speak "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" becomes a movie all about the performances and characters. And thankfully this is where the movie is first rate with great supporting performances from the likes of Susan Sarandon, Eli Wallach and Frank Langella whilst Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan and Shia LaBeouf all deliver multi dimensional characters. But to be honest for me "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" was all about Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, all about watching him bring to life the charismatic Gekko once again and he doesn't disappoint. The early scenes where we have Gordon as the changed man he oozes charisma yet when it comes to the one on ones between Gordon and Jake you have that feeling that maybe he is still a slippery character pulling strings whilst he waits for his opportunity to return.
What this all boils down to is that "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" is an entertaining movie, it is fast paced, stylish and very much a movie aimed at a younger generation. But it doesn't match up to the magnificence of the original and sadly left me disappointed although still entertained.