Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Drama,Uncategorized Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Review

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Review

Oliver Stone brings us back to the world of greed – Is it still relevant or as dated as Gekko’s phone? I’ll admit, most of the time when a sequel comes more than ten years after the original, they usually don’t work very well. The director will try to hold on to what people loved about the original film but either follow it too closely or disregard it all together. In the end it’s just a sad reminder in how the patience is not always a great virtue.Oliver Stone attempts to create a hybrid of those techniques by way of a young protagonist and his involvement in the stock market. Sadly though, Stone does not escape the clutches of bad sequels. By trying to balance the two things he created an overly convoluted plot and over shadowed Gordon Gekko – which lets bet honest, he’s the reason why so many people love Wall Street. He was an under used character in the first film and an even less utilized one in this. This is the role that won Michael Douglas an Oscar and he’s even on the cover of the DVD. So you would think Oliver would make him the undisputed lead of the film. But no, instead Oliver decides to have Shia LaBeouf, who plays Jake Moore, a stock market trader trying to learn from Gekko, get revenge on the one responsible for his mentors suicide, and reunite his girlfriend with her father, Gordon Gekko. All while the film attempts to give light on the stock market crash of 2008 and the men who were a part of it.The film attempts to balance all of this by giving each character their own arc and back story – you just can’t have that many stories going on and expect for any of them to have weight. Unless of coarse you have made some deal with the devil to make such a film ‘ and clearly, Oliver Stone didn’t sign the dotted line.Before I further dive into my many issues with the film, I’m gonna be positive and tell what I liked about the film. Easily the best part of this film were the performances, all the actors were at the top of their game and all did their parts admirably. Even actors I didn’t expect to do well did, including Shia LaBeouf; I think this was his best performance yet by a big margin. It’s too bad though he was surrounded by so many other great talents that he was over staged. The likes of which include his girlfriend and daughter of Gordon Gekko, played by Carey Mulligan, who conveys such heart felt emotion that she actually elevates her character from coming off whiny which could have easily happened in lesser talent due to her character’s writing. Josh Brolin plays Bretton James, who basically takes up the mantle from Gordon Gekko as the greedy power hungry investor and destroys the company of Shia’s mentor – Who is no other than Frank Langella. Other credits include Susan Sarandon as the mother of James Moore. Lets not forget the most important name Gordon Gekko, who still steals every scene he’s in. Part of that great presence is that Gekko still has his great one liners throughout which certainly helps carry the film.Despite him being the most enjoyable, as I said earlier, his character was very under utilized. The movie has him merely as a commentator and somewhat of a mentor towards James. A big issue that gets filed under the unbelievable category is the decisions some of these characters make.  First, after James confronts Josh Brolin’s character about him shutting down his mentors firm and therefore causing his suicide, Brolin offers him a job and James takes it. He blames him for causing his mentors suicide and then decides to work for him in the same scene. If your bullshit sensor doesn’t go off after that I have to wonder what universe you live in. The only other point that comes off as uncharacteristic is the ending. Which is exactly what someone means when they say the ending had a “cop out” ending.Another problem due to the convoluted plot was that the film got very boring. Anytime the film tried to switch from the relationship triangle between James, Gekko and the daughter/girlfriend(Winnie), and attempted to get into the talk of Wall Street – which is what the movie should focus on, ends up using way too much jargon and makes every bit of it confusing. After the first few scenes where Stone tries to tie in the science of Wall Street with the unfolding character story it adds to the convulsion and had me lose interest early on and left me bored anytime they delved into it. It seems that Stone new this, and to make up for it decided to excite the scenes with hyper editing that included sudden flashbacks, quick camera changes, and random scene splicing. Insteand of keeping my interest I was distracted and annoyed by it. It didn’t feel natural when the scenes were just normal conversations and the effects didn’t enhance the story telling. As if that wasn’t enough Stone then tries to make the film even livelier by having montages that include number, pictures, and newspaper articles scrolling all over the place. But the worst of all, Stone felt the need to bash our heads with overly blunt metaphors such as dominoes falling right before the stock market crash. I’m not kidding – I’m curious if the editors think we are that stupid or if during the post production process they needed them there so that Stone could remember what part of the film they were at.As the film goes on you begin to loose more and more hope as to what could have been. The film had so much potential but it seems Oliver Stone is living proof of how far the mighty can fall. The film could have been a showcase for Gordon Gekko and entertainingly explore the stock market for a new generation. Instead Stone has become consumed by his political agenda and ignores what the simplistic lesson of the original film was. I could dive into spoiler territory further revealing just how convoluted the film really is or how annoying David Byrne songs can get, but I will spare the explanation. I cannot say this film is a total failure due to the great performances and at times the lavish lifestyles of New York, but its not nearly enough to recommend the film because of how disappointingly the film squanders those elements.-Alex Tracy

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