Sunday, October 17, 2010

Directed by Oliver Stone
Starring Michael Douglas, Shia LeBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin, Susan Sarandon, Austin Pendleton, Frank Langella, Eli Wallach, Vanessa Ferlito, Charlie Sheen

The first Wall Street (1987) was a very hard look on the quick-buck financial culture of the 1980's. It was a typical Oliver Stone film in the sense that it presented a very cynical look of the greed for wealth and power over simplicity and honest labor. Over two decades have passed and Stone brings the sequel at the most appropriate moment and bases it on the world wide 2008 financial crisis.

 23 years have passed since the events of the first film and Wall Street legend Gordon Gekko is being released from prison. At the same time a young up and coming trader Jacob Moore (LeBeouf) is getting engaged to Gekko's estranged daughter Winnie (Mulligan). Jacob suffers a personal tragedy when his boss and mentor commits suicide and as a result he sets out to seek revenge on the calculating investment banker Bretton James (Brolin) whom he thinks is to fault. Gekko wants to rekindle with his daughter and he and Jacob start helping each other on their respected goals. Gekko hasn't yanked his green tooth though and trouble brews.

 Before I say anything else, I'll admit that most of the trader lingo and business manouvers of these films go right over my head. It is fairly easy to follow the basic plot though because it's quite like watching Star Trek. And by that I mean that I have no idea what the hell it means when someone yells that they have a disrupted plasma coil. You still understand that it means the fucking Klingons have the upper hand, you know?

 I've liked LeBeouf ever since I first saw him in films like Constantine and I, Robot and now Wall Street 2 continues to prove his rightful place among the most talented young stars in Hollywood. The man can act, there's no question about it. Most importantly, he can take on different roles and adapt according to director and genre like in Transformers for example. LeBeouf and Douglas play well together and as great as LeBeouf is, there's no way he can out shine Gordon Gekko, the role that pretty much defined Douglas' career. Stone continues to question the greed which rules the lives of these characters and rightfully so because I too have always wondered what is it about money that turns people into these cold, arrogant bastards. At one point in the film Jacob asks Bretton what's his figure at which the money he has is enough to lay down and live comfortably. The given answer perfectly summarizes the mentality of these hollow suits: MORE.

Osakemaailmassa luultavasti jo miltei käsitteeksi noussut alkuperäinen Wall Steet (1987) sai ennalta-arvaamattomasti jatko-osan 23 vuotta myöhemmin ja lopputulos on Oliver Stonen tapaan kriittinen ja koruton katsaus ahneuden ja sen tuoman kyseenalaisen moraalikadon lopputuloksista, sillä pohjana filmissä käytetään erittäin fiksusti vuoden 2008 finanssikriisiä. Douglasin uran määritellyt Gordon Gekko on taas vapaalla jalalla ja raha pistetään virtaamaan hinnalla millä hyvänsä. Vaikkei monimutkaisista pörssikikkailuista ja kuplista metaforina tajuaisikaan mitään niin leffassa pysyy silti mukavasti kärryillä, sillä tuo kaikki siansaksa on samanlaista pilkunviilaamista kuin Star Trekin teknolöpinä. Ei esim. tarvitse ymmärtää kirjaimellisesti mitä "revennyt plasmakäämi" tarkoittaa tajutakseen että Enterprise on paskana, kohta läski tummuu ja Klingonit tulittaa perseeseen.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps at IMDb