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October 8, 2010 / Prof Cupcake.


Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.


It’s flashy, decadent and seductively hedonistic. Throw your morals to the wind and run to Wall Street; maybe you too could make your millions in the bullpen.


WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS, picks up just over two decades after the original. Haggard and stubbly, though still rocking the same slicked back hair, we find Gordon Gekko, (Michael Douglas) walking out of prison armed with an empty money clip and a phone the size of brick. The recession is still on the horizon and as the film unfolds we find our selves rocketed into the highflying world of young Wall Street entrepreneur Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf) the fiancé of Gekko’s estranged daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan).

It is not long before the crash strikes and we find ourselves following the lives of many of the heavy hitters on Wall Street as the disaster unfolds before their eyes. The plot is well-written, enjoyable and filled with twists and turns. In the interest of preserving its subtly, I shall refrain from discussing the plot further, but let it be said that if you have a masters in economics, or just a laymen’s understanding, (like myself) the discussion of the events happening on Wall Street have been crafted to such an extent that they seem plausible and are understandable.

Oliver Stone has managed to make a film that defies definition. It is both a seamless homage to the 80’s classic, filled with humorous allusions, characters cameo’s from Bud Fox, (Charlie Sheen) or my favorite, “the realtor” (Sylvia Miles) and nostalgic songs. At the same time it is also a slick polished 21st century production. The shots are sharp, the wipes are fluid and the camera moves as if an omnipotent impartial observer able to probe both the mental and physical landscapes of the characters. The editing is particularly clever, making extensive use of digital overlays, (reminiscent of the myriad of stock market screens,) in order to explore the complex web of interactions and reactions between characters and how their decisions and opinions shape the market.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a frantic role coaster ride of a film. It repeatedly builds up to moments of frenetic energy before dropping them in favor of tender scenes between lovers and family.  As your emotions rocket up and down, one can not help but feel that Mr. Stone has managed to craft one clever film. The fragility and sea-saw nature of the stock market is not only told through the films narrative and cinematography but is cleverly realized in the intentional emotional roller coaster ride it takes you on. By abandoning the traditional Hollywood form, Stone fills the entire film with these great emotional peaks and troths, forcing you, the viewer, to constantly redefine your opinions of the characters on screen.   The symbolic image of rising and falling stock prices informs the entire text as a whole, creating the erratic backbone from which Wall Street gathers its narrative core.

Ultimately the most interesting part about Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, is that it is not really about the money at all. Unlike its predecessor which was all about excess, decadence and greed, WSMNS is more about moral money. Gordon Gekko in a turn from sin incarnate to prophetic voice even tries to instill within the audience the idea that his motivations were never for the bill but for the love of the game. The stock market, the crash, the bills, the ladies, all become a stand in for the moral degradation Stone insinuates is running rampant. Through the turmoil of social upheaval, Jake becomes a messiah figure that his mentor Gekko can never become. With youth and innocence on his side he stands as the man Stone is pleading with us to become. If in Wall Street he tried to make society Satan’s of us all, he now is campaigning for our soul.

Ultimately Wall Street: Money Never sleeps is a stand-alone film. A piece that exists independently of is predecessor and is more fascinated with chaos, both personal and financial, caused by the recession then the shameless greed and guile that dominated the original. A must see film for all.



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