“Wall Street: Money
Sometimes it just all comes together.
Oliver Stone is a veteran, decorated director who knew enough to
recruit great casting. The plot
is so frantic you almost don’t notice the occasional lapse of continuity.
But in the thin annals of sequels that work as good as, if not
better, than the originals, this one has to rank among the limited handful
of delightful successes.
Michael Douglas reprises his role as Gordon Gekko, the flashy,
stylish, Wall Street money man who made greed socially acceptable.
Having been imprisoned for insider trading, he roars back with a lean
and hungry look, ready to somehow dive back into the game, and, hopefully,
enjoy some retribution upon some of his fellow sharks who sold him out, then
hung him out to dry-rot in obscurity, the worst-case curse of the true
Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf) is the handsome young man with the predator
look in his eyes who wants to be just like Gordon Gekko:
fabulously rich, enormously successful, startlingly manipulative, and
so deceitfully cunning and cold-bloodedly calculating that they don’t know
what’s hit ‘em until he’s already gone. In Gekko he has the perfect
mentor, that is, after a mutual rival, Bretton James (Josh Brolin) has
destroyed the backing, and therefore the will, of his old mentor, Louis
Zabel (Frank Langella). Yes,
viewers will recognize the not-that-long-ago fantastic tale of the tottering
brokerage houses, and the Fed’s determination to prop up the very banks
who helped create the subprime financial crisis in the first place.
(Which raises the interesting question, no longer rhetorical, of how
big a business does it need to be in
for the government to consider that bailing it out is in the national
There are a couple of great
secondary performances here: Eli
Wallach (can he really be 95 years old?) as the clever, curmudgeonly
financier; and Susan Sarandon
as the scheming mother who also wants to be a “player” in Long Island
real estate. But Carey Mulligan
shines again as Jake’s fiancée, and not at all coincidentally, Gordon
Gekko’s lost daughter. Well,
she wasn’t lost, exactly, she just wasn’t speaking to her Dad any more,
not after…..well, the movie will do a better job explaining all that.
Just know there is a layer of personal emotionality to all these
dizzying transactions with cold, hard cash.
The viewer will have to decide whose tears are touchingly real and
whose are crassly manipulative.
This movie crackles with witty dialogue, accomplished screenplay,
suitably adept original music score, and the kind of relevance that makes us
all wonder who’s minding the money management chicken coop, and which are
the foxes that are raiding the proverbial henhouse.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace