Posted by Vivek on September 24, 2010 | No Comments

Oliver Stone and Michael Douglas return with Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps, the first sequel Oliver Stone has ever made. In true Oliver Stone style, his films are based on real characters and events and like it or not, are always thought provoking.
Wall Street of 1987 is very different from Wall Street of 2010. In fact if anything it documents what many truly believe. Generation Now is better than Generation Then. The value systems have changed, however, what is different is that the Greedy have become viciously Greedy and Greed has now become an institutional parasite as opposed to an individual obsession.

In 1987 the stock market crashed 500 points because of greedy traders who indulged in insider trading. Traders like Ivan Boeskly, Michael Milken, etc. But these folks wanted to enrich themselves, not necessarily harm society.
In 2008 onwards, the Greedy have also become evil. The sub prime collapse, the world losing their homes because they cannot afford their mortgage, jobs going away, credit card debt taking over our lives, people like Madoff who not only make money for themselves illegally, but worse, bankrupt those whose money they play with. The dark side is a lot darker now. That is the underlying emotion of the film, which commences with Gordon Gekko (Douglas) coming out of Jail and facing a capitalist world, that is in the worst recession since 1929, most of which is their own doing. The world has also changed drastically and China and India have now become factors on Wall Street, in a big way.

The current generation as depicted by Gekko’s daughter (Carrey Mulligan) and her fiancé (Shia LaBeouf) have a value system wherein it is not only about money, but about doing the right thing. But the 87 generation, lead primarily by the new Wall Street Heavyweight, Bretton James (Josh Brolin) have made the world a much scarier place. If Gekko’s speech about GREED BEING GOOD was the highlight of the first film, then the new Gekko’s speech about the CURRENT GENERATION BEING BANKRUPT, is the most thought provoking moment of this film.

The movie is one of the most powerful sequels that has come out in recent times. The power is not in the high emotion and action, it is in the reflective thought process of what we are still in the midst of, our own self created economic disaster. From a performance perspective, the less dramatic and humbled Douglas as Gekko, is probably one who has a more lasting impact. Mulligan and Brolin are equally competent, although LaBeouf is the weak link in the film.

The highlight of the movie is the realism, which is as evident in the beginning as the middle and certainly the end. The difficulty are the financial terms and methodology used, but given that most of the audience would be composed of people who have experienced a home loan issue, or a rising credit card debt or economic uncertainty, they will get the magnitude of what is depicted in the film- HUMANS ARE THE MOST DANGEROUS MISSILES EVER MADE.

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