Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
September 24, 2010
On the Big Board
|Everything about this movie works for me except for Shia LaBeouf, which makes it all the more unfortunate that he is in almost every scene. Still good, though.
|I was pleased by the amount of screen time Gekko had, and the dramatization of the financial meltdown, but the rest of the story was just eh.
It’s been 23 years since we said goodbye to Gordon Gekko, the slimeball Wall Street denizen who made as much money as he could, as quickly as he could, and as illegally as possible. At the time, Gordon told us, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” Wall Street, the film, is one of the slicker productions from director Oliver Stone, but it’s also one of the most enduring. From the look of the trailer for its sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Stone’s going right back to the well, being as slick here as he was over 20 years ago. Unlike his most recent film, W., the movie will have the advantage of being timely in a good way. People are still plenty bitter at the actual Wall Street, so any movie that shows them as the slicksters we think they are, with the potential of losing everything, should do damn well.
Of course, it helps a lot that Stone’s sequel to Wall Street features the return of Gekko, as played by Michael Douglas. Douglas is joined in the cast by Shia LaBoeuf, as his new protégé, Carey Mulligan as Gekko’s daughter, Susan Sarandon, Josh Brolin, and Frank Langella. What’s more, the movie looks like it’s going to be something a bit unique, considering the topic matter: fun. It’s hard to imagine a movie about the people who work and breathe Wall Street being fun, but with LaBoeuf as the shiny new guy looking to make a buck with Gekko at his side (and boy, will he learn how dumb an idea that was) and Mulligan as his romantic interest, we might just be in for a fast-paced ride.
Stone, of course, is most well-known for his polemics on film, movies such as JFK, W., and Platoon, all movies that work well as film, but are just as often meant to be forceful and in-your-face messages about government, war, money, the media, or even the specific men who’ve been chosen to lead our country, whether it’s John F. Kennedy, George W. Bush, or Richard Nixon. What’s most impressive about the reception for the new Wall Street movie is that it’s managing to appear to have an opinion on the financial state of the country, but in such a way that it may not divide the same people who would usually avoid an Oliver Stone film like the plague. There are, for example, many, many reasons why W. didn’t do well at the box office (one of them being that the film wasn’t that great or necessary), but the fact that half the country doesn’t feel the need to vilify him might have helped.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, though, seems to be marketed as a movie directed by Oliver Stone, but not as an Oliver Stone film. What’s more, with one of his biggest and most marketable casts (getting the lead from the hideous yet insanely popular Transformers films and the Academy Award-nominated ingénue who’s being compared to Audrey Hepburn is quite the coup), Stone’s got popularity on his side. Also, though it’s usually a no-no to talk about release dates on this part of Box Office Prophets, it’s worth pointing out that the film’s distributor, 20th Century Fox, has high hopes for the film. It was originally intended to be released on April 23rd; while that date would’ve been relatively good for the film’s box office prospects, it didn’t speak to the film being an Oscar contender.
Since that original set-up, Fox has moved Wall Street’s release date to farther down the line in 2010, so it’s hard to think that the studio’s not positive on the film’s chances at a few golden statuettes. Of course, Fox’s thinking may be bolstered by the fact that Michael Douglas won a Best Actor Oscar as Gordon Gekko in the original Wall Street, 23 years ago. Could Douglas win again, though perhaps not as the Best Actor winner? Could Carey Mulligan get another nomination next year for this film? What about LaBoeuf? (And don’t just start doing an impersonation of him at your computer screen, shouting, “No, no, no, no!”) Fox has high hopes for the film, and it looks like it could be the perfect mix of highbrow and lowbrow entertainment, a mix for the adults and younger audiences. Gordon Gekko may have been right all along: greed, for movie studios, is good. Let’s see if it pays off for Fox. (Josh Spiegel/BOP)