Friday, September 24, 2010

A mini movie review: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

Director - Oliver Stone
133 Min; PG-13
Shia LaBeouf - Jake
Michael Douglas - Gordon Gekko
Josh Brolin - Bretton James
Carey Mulligan - Winnie Gekko
Frank Langella - Louis Zabel

My expectations for the sequel to an all time favorite had been relatively low ever since I heard the rumors of a follow up film with not just a cameo by the larger than life figure of Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) but a film built with him as a primary figure. When I found out Shia LaBeouf (Tansformers; Indiana Jones...Crystal Skull) was going to be the lead hot shot a la Charlie Sheen's character in the original I contemplated never even seeing it. Thankfully I can say with ease that the film more than holds up and you should have no reservations paying your $10.

I was able to put aside my severe dislike for LaBeouf and will give him credit for doing the best he could with the material given, thankfully gone are his nervous twitches and over-the-top reactions to every single scene in which he has ever previously been. Really strong supporting roles are everywhere in this film, not limited to just Douglas, as Carrie Mulligan (An Education)continues to excel at everything she touches and Josh Brolin just never seems to choose a poor role (That I've seen lately). For my money it is the smallest supporting role in the film that is the best and that is turned in by Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) as an aging giant on Wall Street. Nobody acts like Langella anymore - strong and 100% in character.

The film follows the lives of a young trader and his relationship with an up and coming liberal website blogger who also happens to be the grown up daughter of the once great and powerful Gordon Gekko. His release from prison years ago and a run in with Jake produce a film about possible redemption mixed in with a modern day theme of Wall Street and the housing market crash. Overall a solid film with a lot to like, but a story that is simply too grand in scope. There is probably enough for 2 movies in this film and that makes it feel heavy, but all is forgiven when Carrie Mulligan does her thing and makes us all realize we are watching one of the next great actresses.

**** out of 5

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