Is it even possible that Gordon Gecko could become a human being? Did prison of all places soften him up, or is it just the clock? In his 1987 Academy Award-winning performance in “Wall Street,” Michael Douglas gave a stone-cold performance he was praised for. But in 2010’s sequel “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” Gordon Gecko seems to have become wiser and suddenly wants to be in his estranged child’s life.
“Wall Street 2” takes place in 2008 during the worst economic downfall in our generation, perfect timing for the release of Gecko’s new book. Shia LaBeouf plays Jake Moore who is a young investment banker engaged to Gecko’s daughter Winnie, played by Carey Mulligan. Moore becomes a fan of Gecko due to his own hunger for economic success but has to hide his interests from his fiancé, Winnie.
While trying to get Gordon Gecko and Winnie Gecko to reconcile, Moore has become involved with a more money-hungry leech than her father ever was, Bretton James, played by actor Josh Brolin. Brolin’s performance was one of the most convincing during the film, which isn’t hard to believe after his performances in “W” and “No Country for Old Men.” The weakest performance is from Carey Mulligan, who plays Winnie Gecko. This, however, may not be Mulligan’s fault. Director Oliver Stone makes it hard to believe that Winnie Gecko, after being put through the ringer so many times with her father, would continue to want to be with someone so much like her dad, and then be naïve about almost all the situations that take place in the film.
What makes “Wall Street 2” a harder pill to swallow than the original film is the number of “enemies” included in the film. In 1987’s “Wall Street,” Gordon Gecko gloated constantly about Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” which compares business ethics to war. In “Wall Street 2,” nobody steps up to be the bad guy. If audiences pay attention to the film as it progresses, they will find out this is a big problem. The film, much like in reality, holds no one accountable to his or her actions.
The actress with which audiences will be able to most easily connect is Susan Sarandon, who plays Moore’s mother. Sarandon doesn’t want to believe that the housing bubble has popped and will stop at nothing to keep her current properties. Out of the fictional chaos, some realistic issues will hit home for audiences. In the end, Sarandon’s character goes back to work as a nurse and everything turns out fine.
“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” is an entertaining film worth the admission price if you are a fan of the original “Wall Street.” Stone doesn’t allow his “Wall Street” legacy to be tainted by creating a completely unconvincing sequel. Even if audiences are tired of the recent surge of sequels, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” delivers what it promises.
Rating: ¾ stars
Starring: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Susan Sarandon
Directed by: Oliver Stone
MPAA rating: PG-13
Enrico Dominguez may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.