Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
dir Oliver Stone
scr Allan Loeb, Stephen Schiff
prd Eric Kopeloff, Edward R. Pressman, Oliver Stone
with Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan, Susan Sarandon, Frank Langella, Eli Wallach, John Buffalo Mailer, John Bedford Lloyd, Austin Pendleton, Oliver Stone, Charlie Sheen
release US 24.Sep.10, UK 8.Oct.10
10/US 2h13
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Are you my father? Douglas and LaBeouf

brolin mulligan sarandon
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Michael Douglas returns to his most iconic role for this 20-years-later sequel to Oliver Stone's 1987 hit. Of course it couldn't be much more timely, as it dips into the current financial chaos and the drama behind the scenes.

Jake (LaBeouf) is a rising-star broker working for a Wall Street veteran (Langella). His girlfriend Winnie (Mulligan) is the estranged daughter of the legendary Gordon Gekko (Douglas), who recently completed his prison term for insider trading. But Jake's idea to reunite Winnie and her dad takes a turn when they begin a kind of teacher-student relationship. Jake then takes a job for an archrival investor (Brolin) to orchestrate his downfall. But this is 2008 and banks are starting to collapse around them. And maybe Gekko is up to his old tricks.

There's an awful lot of financial dialog here and whether it holds water is anyone's guess. After about three scenes it just sounds like blah-blah-blah, and yet the screenwriters actually create a sense of drama from this impenetrable gobbledygook. We may not have a clue what's happening, but we know it's not good. Much more interesting is the personal melodrama involving various parents and children, mentors and proteges, and of course Jake and Winnie.

All of this provides a series of meaty scenes for the cast, with Douglas merrily chomping through the scenery at every turn. He's terrific on screen, likeable and untrustworthy at the same time. LaBeouf holds the film together quite well in the central role, with the fine Mulligan providing solid emotional resonance along the way. And Brolin is slick and intimidating as the smiling villain of the piece.

This is Stone's boldest, liveliest film in years, with gleaming surfaces barely obscuring the flickering consciences. Yes, it takes a broad swipe at ostentatiously wealthy bankers who make their fortune by robbing from the poorest people in the country. And also from the government in the form of unrestricted bailouts. Through all of this, Stone keeps the plot moving briskly and holds our interest even when things bog down in money-speak. But the most telling part is that only the interpersonal drama really engages us.

cert 12 themes, language 5.Oct.10

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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall