Gordon Gekko is back!!!!!!! He saunters out of prison in his seedy, dated suit with his four pound cell phone, an empty money chip, surrounded by fellow tattooed releasees and emanates fearless fortitude; incarceration has strengthened his resolve, his unquenchable determination to rise, like a phoenix from the ashes of his fraudulent past to the elevated status as Wall Street’s financial guru, once again! I was thrilled to be there for the ride.
Oliver Stone has achieved a polished veneer, a sophisticated shine to his filming and directorial powers; like the people, driven, famished for success, the movie is luminously beautiful ,a banquet for the eyes. He pushes all the pertinent emotional and financial buttons that anyone over 35 has endured and survived; powerless and humbled by the herculean catastrophe the universe has stumbled through.
Watching “Wall Street:Money Never Sleeps” filled with references to financial debacles, the collapse of the housing markets, ruination of banks; vanquished Brokerage Houses considered immortal, (Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers) the government multi- billion dollar bailouts (A.I.G., GM, Chrysler). Wall Street, the Temple of the voraciously greedy, sorcerers of sin who tore from the average soul its financial life’s support; so much veracity to what we have witnessed in the last few years. Thinking of the Jungian expression “the brighter the light, the darker the shadow” and remembering growing up in an Adlai Stevenson household where Wall Street was the “ light”; the palace at the end of the yellow brick road; the place where people with innovative ideas, inventions were courageously supported by these same banks and brokerage firms now ghostly specters of the visionaries they once were. My father, a rare combination of immense intelligence and stinging levity believed Wall Street was the masterpiece of democracy; the Petri dish where ideas and creations by blessed minds were nurtured financially by those who recognized the wisdom behind these innovations, acknowledging that humanity was the ultimate victor. Yes, they made gargantuan profits and eventually some were corrupted by the elixir of their achievements, shunned regulations, believed they were the Messiahs of capitalism; the Midas’ of the markets. Apocalypse, 2008, the mighty were felled, castigated, driven from the temple along with their disciples.
Remember this is a movie, a fine one. There were grumblings, groans and vociferous disagreements with many of the premises, but wallow in the experience of terrific actors giving convincing performances, delivering with alacrity and legitimacy a few trying and trite clichés.
Michael Douglas is phenomenal as the feckless, financial cad, Gordon Gekko. Shia LaBouf, won my esteem by incorporating the avaricious, opportunist genius with a heart and conscience, Jake Moore. Carey Mulligan, whose precociousness as an actor is on steroids, captures the ambiguity of being Gekko’s daughter and Moore’s lover, Winnie, with the mandatory angst and ease.
A pivotal, gorgeously galvanizing scene takes place at a black- tie event in The Metropolitan Museum of Art ; the camera focuses, from the neck up on hundreds of glamorous women, symbols of success and excess; wearing jewelry bequeathed to the royal. In Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice”, the Prince of Morocco discovers, “all that glitters is not gold” ; correct, sometimes it’s diamonds………and that ain’t bad!
Here is entertainment worth at least…….
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!