Saturday, February 5, 2011

Thoughts and Grade: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

In which I unexpectedly enjoy myself:

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (dir. Stone, 2010)

I do not like the original Wall Street.  I find it VERY dated, I detest Oliver Stone, Charlie Sheen is as flat as cardboard, and it's quite overlong.  The good thing about the original Wall Street is Michael Douglas' Gordon Gekko.  He's a mesmerizing character whose smarmy charm both hooks the audience in and repulses them at the same time.  When Oliver Stone announced that he was making a sequel to the original, I understood exactly why but also questioned its necessity.  The character's arcs were finished, Gekko was reprimanded, where else is there to go?!  Then he cast Shia LeBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin, and Frank Langella.  I was interested.  THEN the film was accepted to the Cannes film festival.  I was officially interested, but tentatively so.  After the film debuted to indifference from basically every critic who saw it, my interest disappeared.  When a few friends saw the film and completely panned it, I decided it was a certain skip.

I did catch up with the film this past week, and I have to say that I was wrong.  Despite some immensely confusion business and financial jargon dominating much of a lackluster screenplay, I found the film entertaining!  Shia LeBeouf is a charismatic lead, the plotline revolving around Josh Brolin is quite interesting (despite my early reservations that it was taking away from Gekko...which at first it did), and Michael Douglas returning to his iconic role, I was swept away.  When it ended I was shocked at how much I enjoyed it!  

The film's plotline is pretty generic: It's a story of Shia LeBeouf's Wall Street broker whose mentor commits suicide after Josh Brolin's character spreads some cruel financial lies (of which I understand nothing).  So Shia plans to get revenge by working for Brolin, discovering some terrible things he's doing, and then ridding him of all his money.  Gekko, enraged because Brolin's character aided his arrest and prosecution, helps Shia.  Of course there's much more than that, but it's interesting how the plot unfolds and the various twists unfurl.  I'm just so very shocked at how much I enjoyed the film!

At the end of the day the film is full of flaws and suffers from some eye-rolling moments and an overlong run-time.  I still ask myself 'WHY was this necessary?!' but I enjoyed myself too much to really care.  This is a movie--not a film--and it fulfills the criteria of that classification quite well.  

Grade: B

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