The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Douglas welcomes LeBeouf to the intrigue of Wall Street


“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” director Oliver Stone’s 23-years later follow-up to “Wall Street,” is more or less art imitating life.


 In the late 80s Gordon Gekko ruled the world of fast-talking traders who made deals between swills of joe on their brick-sized cell phones. It was the exciting world of banking as Gekko knew it, and to him, greed was good.


Enter Gekko, 2001, fresh out of prison for securities fraud, money laundering and racketeering, is slightly out of touch with society. Cell phones, along with all tech devices, have shrunk. 


But if anyone can adapt to change, it’s Gekko, played by Michael Douglas. Douglas, who won an Oscar as Gekko some 20 years ago, has turned in another solid performance, ably deceiving any arrogant banking kingpin he encounters.


But the film isn’t necessarily centered on Gekko. Fast forward to 2008: a rising unemployment rate, corporate downsizing and the bank-bailout debate. “Money Never Sleeps” settles on the young idealist and Wall Street whiz Jake Moore (Shia LeBeouf), who incidentally is in love with Gekko’s estranged daughter, Winnie (Carey Mullingan). The film hinges on viewers’ knowledge of current events.


So while all seems to be going well in his life, Jake’s investment-banking firm, Keller Zabel Investments, suddenly crumbles, leaving him and his mentor Louis Zabel (Frank Langella) on the outs. 


And when an old foe, Bretton James (Josh Brolin), a partner of a rival bank, gobbles up what remains after a bailout never comes to pass, Moore’s mentor falls hardest.


In search of revenge for his mentor, who in truth is more like his father, Moore devises a plan to get even. However, James is impressed by his moxie and offers him a job rather than retaliating, delaying the young trader’s quest for vengeance.


While out with a friend, Moore attends a lecture by Gekko, while promoting his book, “Is Greed Good?” 


Afterward he approaches the lecturer and the two strike a deal that gets Moore closer to his revenge and Gekko a chance at reconnecting with his daughter.


But with Gekko, nothing is as what it seems. Prison didn’t so much reform him as much as it heightened his perception of what’s right — or rather his ability to overlook it.


Being familiar with Wall Street, Gekko’s book accurately forecasts the market’s malaise and points out how some make money on losing. From there the film carries on with Moore attempting to set things right and Gekko struggling to reinvent himself.


Douglas reprises his role as Gekko, the slick-haired anti-hero is vivd, sly and snakelike, albeit a more mature version, who does, to his credit, attempt to put family first. 


But make no bones about it, there is no film without Douglas.


Shia LeBeouf is adequate in his role as Moore, the visionary. He talks fast through rather long-winded dialogue and puts his quick wit to good use with his trademark zingers. 


Brolin is perfect as the film’s ultimate villain. He’s calculating, cocky and has an air of untouchability about him.


Oliver Stone’s direction is very Stonian — the hazy backgrounds, the over-the-shoulder angles. And let’s not forget his tendency to give himself a role. 


Stone also brought back Charlie Sheen as Bud Black who appeared in the original film, and a couple of cameos by Maria Bartiromo and Jim Cramer to authenticate the film.


Bottom line: “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” though two decades apart from the original and not as serious, succeeds at approaching the level of its predecessor. 


What audiences will get is a film that can be predictable and often preachy, yet entertaining.

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