Trader Jake (Shia LaBeouf) tries to mend the broken relationship between his fiancée, Winnie (Carey Mulligan), and her father, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), while avenging the fate of his mentor, Lou (Frank Langella), by getting close to Wall Street’s new megalomaniac, Bretton James (Josh Brolin). Centered on the 2008 financial crisis, director Oliver Stone’s follow-up is a modern-day ode to unfettered capitalism and, of course, greed.
Rating: 7 out of 10
If you had told me a couple of years ago that Oliver Stone would be making a sequel to one of his early films, “Wall Street” might have seemed the least likely. The original, while one of my favorite films of the 1980’s, wraps itself up perfectly and appeared to have no further storyline to persue. It turns out there was more good than bad to this movie, which features some of Oliver Stone’s best writing since “JFK.”
A lot of the dialogue between the main characters is believable, interesting, and likeable. Stone seems to understand these people very well and picked the right actors to execute it. Shia Lebouf, who is clearly wasting his talent making bullshit Michael Bay movies, is excellent here as the young and determined Wall Street executive who’s hoping to discover the next great investment while doing his best to maintain his relationship with Carey Mulligan’s character — who just happens to be the daughter of ruthless tycoon Gorgon Gekko. Michael Douglas returns in the role of Gekko and, despite being older physically, more than makes up for it by giving a very cerebral and cunning performance in his second go-round. While all of the performances and dialogue are excellent, I can’t help but feel that Stone had very little reason to make this film. It’s certainly not necessary to show us Wall Street has become more high tech: we know. It certainly wasn’t necessary to let us know that Gordon Gekko is a self-centered asshole: we knew. And getting more into the family drama and less into the double crossing and underbelly of the Wall Street system: not smart.
So, I recommend this film if you like the first one but as more of an epilogue to the first than a true sequel.