Movie Review: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Movie Review: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Review: A sequel to Oliver Stone's Wall Street, a huge hit in 1987, which took on the greed and corruption of Wall Street in New York City.

Published September 24, 2010

Review : A sequel to Oliver Stone 's Wall Street , a huge hit in 1987, which took on the greed and corruption of Wall Street in New York City.

Summary : In some ways, a follow-up to Wall Street seems fitting. The country is enduring similar trauma that occurred in the mid to late '80s due to Reaganomics, but sequels over 20 years later are risky.  The good thing is you don't need to see the original to understand the sequel.  The bad is that the sequel is missing so much of the pizazz of the original that you will want to watch the 1987 version to understand what the hoopla was about.

Visually, the film is polished, nothing less than you would expect from a legend like Oliver Stone. However, the original Wall Street had a strong storyline with witty commentary on greed. In comparison, Money Never Sleeps is bankrupt of a plot and any unique commentary. The film is as predictable as a vintage Fannie Mae commercial, toned down in the wrong places and hyped up in the wrong places.

There is the arching theme of "greed" that Stone is attempting to critique again.  The script is soaked with redundant dialogue about bail-outs, the worst financial crisis in history -- all of the things America experienced in 2008 and, to some degree, is still experiencing now.  But, Money Never Sleep falls short with its Sex and the City- type exorbitance. Bling-bling jewelry, flashy suits, New York City lofts and $100 million trading deals. In these economic times, the escapism of Wall Street might be more irritating than entertaining.

Gone is the edge from the original, the corporate villains, or hardcore acting that won Michael Douglas an Oscar for playing the vicious Gordon Gekko. Douglas is the only hope for this sequel and the movie suddenly works when he is on screen. When he is not in a scene, he is missed -- it's just not enough Gordan Gekko.  I almost felt like chanting in the theater, "We want Gekko!  We want Gekko!"

Maybe the powers that be felt like a man of a certain age like the legendary Michael Douglas cannot sell a movie.  Instead, audiences get a bland, 20-something romance between a frantic Shia LaBeouf and a whiny Carey Mulligan .

Entertaining in moments, the movie weighs more on the didactic, predictable and disappointing. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is like watching two hours straight of CNBC, which is great if that is your channel of choice, but not a triumph for a feature-length film.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps opens in theaters nationwide today.

Written by Clay Cane


Latest in news