Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wall Street-Money Never Sleeps

Oliver Stone and Michael Douglas bring us the second act of the Wall Street saga. When the original came out, it starred Douglas and a much more innocent Charlie Sheen in a tale of corporate raiders, men like Canada's own Conrad Black who would take over companies and gut them, in the never-ending journey to turn a profit.

When Wall Street came out in the eighties, Stone had something to say. It was a stylish morality play with Douglas playing the cold-blooded Gekko.

In Money Never Sleeps, Douglas becomes a warm-hearted family man which dilutes the bite of this film, Josh Brolin is the bad guy here and does a commendable job. I think Stone wanted to do Eli Wallach a solid by putting him on screen. He wasn't doing him any favours. Wallach has a long and storied career and this appearance isn't going to add anything to his legacy.

Shia LeBeouf is good as the innocent, but in this film and the Crystal Skull debacle, he gets to escort aging Hollywood stars through their walk of fame.

Money might not sleep but you might as you watch this film. It lacks the edge and style of the original.

The movie takes us into the biggest crash on Wall Street in 70 years, but the mechanics behind it seem to escape Stone. In the original, Stone took us into the heart of Wall Street with the infamous; 'Greed is Good' quote. Summed up a generation perfectly. But the whole toxic soup of derivatives, easy credit, deregulation of Wall Street and the housing bubble seems to be beyond Stone's grasp, but of course, if the engineers on Wall Street didn't and still don't get it, then how could an outsider like Stone.

Now had Lebeouf been an engineer who turns from his dad's engineering firm to go into wall street mirroring the original and uses his skills to create one of those derivative formulas without knowing the consequences, then we would have been inside the maelstorm, but we are only on a park bench watching the bus go by.

An entertaining enough way to pass the time, but an opportunity lost.

Rating ** 1/2

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