12A, 113 Minutes. Starring: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon & Josh Brolin. Director: Oliver Stone
Douglas & Stone go double or nothing on a movie set to sell, sell, sell.
It has been more than 20 years since the original 'Wall Street' movie hit the big time. The Oliver Stone classic paved the way for a much deserved Oscar for Michael Douglas who banked on a career performance as financial lizard Gordon Gekko (Douglas would finish the 80's strong with this and the dark, classic, crime thriller 'Black Rain'). One meltdown and punch to Charlie Sheen's face in Central Park ended Gekko's reign and a story that would hold for decades. Still the influence of this classic has had an impact on the movie market since then even being brought into by the 2000 classic 'Boiler Room' which starred Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel and Ben Affleck. A sequel now seems long overdue or does it?
In fact the 'Wall Street' franchise may have lay dormant for years but the sequel 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' has come in perfect timing. Sequels these days don't come easy and neither does money. Wall Street 2 knows how to move with the times even if Gekko's mobile phone doesn't (and you thought your Nokia was a brick) and the film set in 2008 reflects the recession well mirroring Gekko as a man once on top of the world, now down and out and getting old as a new age of top dogs and sharks take their bite out of his infamous 'Greed is Good' philosophy.
Right from the start of the film it's clear that times may have changed but a classic villain should never be bet against. Movie goers who have never seen 'Wall Street' can invest in this film pretty quickly and any fan of the original thinking about cashing out will think again after the opening scene. You are thrown right back into the story as Gekko leaves prison and receives his personal effects, that includes a gold money clip, which has a point of having no money in it. As Gekko leaves prison a limo pulls up but it's not for him, it's for someone who's young enough to be his son. It's the beginning of the film and the villain is already defeated. Where can he go after hitting rock bottom? The only way is up and like those surging lines of stock forecast Gekko's heading to the top.
Back in New York (which is a city that never sleeps like money) Gekko meets young, passionate Wall Street trader Jake (Shia LaBoeuf) who is about to marry his estranged daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan). Gekko has lost his time, his daughter, his Wall Street and his money and he wants it all back. Winnie wants nothing to do with her father but Jake takes to Gekko like green to money and that's were the story and the trouble starts. Gekko agrees to help Jacob with his problems in Wall Street but there is a derivative, Gekko is using his help as leverage. In return for Jake's help in reconciling his relationship with Winnie. So will the new anti-hero Gekko trade greed for good and reconcile with his daughter and gain with his soon-to-be son in law? Or will we see that cigar puffing, Pat Riley slicked hair lizard that once did outlandish things wearing even gaudier ties yet again? Well to find out your going to have to check this film out because remember everything has a price...OH NO! His influence is powerful.
Although 'Money Never Sleeps' isn't a classic it's still an asset to the 'Wall Street' franchise and the epic filmography of both Douglas and Stone. It's rare these days that a sequel stands up to the original, especially after so many years but this is what makes 'Money Never Sleeps' a boom instead of a bust. Due to the changing times and tones, this film is completely different to the original but still forms a cohesive story following it. The two films can line up next to each other and stand apart all at the same time. This financial thriller gives audiences so much drama without a single scene of action and even today it's still rare that a film can capture someones attention like that. Plus there are great support performances from Josh Brolin, Susan Sarandon and Frank Langella (who's stock has rose since 'Frost/Nixon'). There is also a great cameo from director Oliver Stone and an even better cameo from someone who has made his mark walking down Wall Street before.
The film itself is as slick as Gekko's trademark Dapper Dan hair. New York looks as grand and ruling as ever in all it's brilliance and the stock graphics on the Manhattan skyline and the time lapses further echo the films overtones. As for the undertones as soon as the opening credits role the feeling of familiarity is brought back with the same infamous, 80's font of the original 'Wall Street' movie, there's nothing as evocative as nostalgia. So remember don't sleep on one of the best films of this year. 'Wall Street' and Gekko may have been gone for years but their back with a bang. Time to save the moment for a film that goes for broke and brings in the returns. TIM DAVID HARVEY.