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Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010) – Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and thematic elements.

When Wall Street came out in 1987, it was seen as an archetypal portrayal of 1980s excess.  And Gordon Gekko, a role that won Michael Douglas an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, has come to be seen as the charismatic epitome of all the unrestrained greed of many corporate raiders and greenmailers like Dennis Levine, Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken, and Carl Ichan.  And despite the somewhat pessimistic and cynical view on all things involved in the New York Stock Exchange, it also kind of glamorized stock brokers and even made me want to become one “when I grow up.”  The film itself has become a sort of cautionary tale of what will happen when people get too greedy.  And now, twenty-three years later, the sequel reflects back on what did happen when people got too greedy: the financial crisis of 2007 that led to the Great Recession of the 2000s.

The performances in this film are worth the price of your ticket.  Michael Douglas easily slips back into his role as the greedy cold-hearted Gordon Gekko.  You can see why he easily won an Academy Award for this role because it’s as if he never left.  Sure the man has been in jail for many years, but once released he just oozes the confidence of a con man and you know he hasn’t changed one bit.  Michael Douglas may be sixty-six years old but that man’s still got it!  And I was pleasantly surprised that Shia LeBeouf held his own against these amazing veteran actors like Douglas, Josh Brolin, and even Frank Langella.  I’ve never really been a huge fan of “The Beouf,” but he made me into a believer with his acting in this role.  His naiveté yet confidence came across great and he was very believable.  And Josh Brolin was as good as I thought he would be.  Aside from that little hiccup known as Jonah Hex, his acting is always great.  And even though Frank Langella had what was essentially a cameo, he did a good job.  Lastly, in this film that is chock full of amazing male performances Carey Mulligan really shined as one of the few females.  She says a lot with her eyes and I truly can’t wait to see what else she has up her sleeve in future roles.  There’s a bright future for this actress.

My only complaint would be that the ending felt a little forced and was very out of character for Gekko.  Without giving away too many spoilers, the “happy ending” that was tacked to the end of this film was a little disjointed and I probably would have liked the film a little more if it wasn’t added.  Also I’m taking away at least half a star for the film’s length, which was a little too long.  Or maybe it was just that ending.  Either way, I’d recommend this film based on the performances alone.  Especially Douglas’s and LeBeouf’s.  Quite frankly, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, for lack of a better word, is good!  Filmtastic review = 4 stars.

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