Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Review: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Twenty-two years ago, the great Gordon Gekko was imprisoned for insider trading. Now he is out of prison and looking to repair his damaged relationship with his daughter by taking her soon-to-be husband under his wing and helping him seek revenge on the corrupt broker responsible for the loss of his original mentor.

The original "Wall Street" is a fantastic film about corruption and greed set in the world of the stock market. "Money Never Sleeps" is a revenge thriller set in the world of the stock market. That is not to say it doesn't work, it is just a different entity entirely than its predecessor. Given our current economic state, a new "Wall Street" film seemed like a brilliant idea, but with the direction the film goes, it serves less as social commentary and more as an extremely entertaining, well-acted corporate thriller.

Michael Douglas picks up exactly where he left off at the end of the original and has not lost an ounce of his despicably slimy yet entirely likable charm and having him seek redemption nearly humanizes the character to make viewers feel sympathy for this once great broker. The rest of the cast fill out their roles brilliantly with Shia LaBeouf being a real standout here. He handles the role with the maturity of someone who, well, is not Shia LaBeouf and gives the best performance I have ever seen him give.

Oliver Stone is one of my least favorite directors, but "Money Never Sleeps" is one of his more polished films and while that means "studio tainted" for his die hard fans, it means "accessible" for the rest of us. The pacing moves at a clip which is nice, but leaves no room for questioning so the viewer has to stay on top of the plot or it will lose you in its sea of financial world jargon. The script could have been a bit tighter, but Douglas's scenes make it all worth it.

"Money Never Sleeps" could have been a biting commentary on the current state of our economy, but plays it much safer than people thought it would or how Mr. Stone operates. Overall, we are left with a superbly acted thriller deserving of a watch, but not to be taken as a serious statement on the world today.

My rating: 7/10

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