Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) refers to money as ‘she’, and sure enough ‘she’ is the protagonist in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. ‘She’ definitely has a universal appeal but unfortunately the movie doesn’t.
Jake Moore (Shia LeBeouf) is a dedicated Wall Street guy, invested in green energy. Discovered by his mentor Louis Zabel (Frank Langella) at a young age, he looks up to him as a father figure. When rumour mills destroy Zabel’s company, forcing a shameful sale to cheeky banker Bretton James, the proprietor commits suicide. Anger induces vengeance in Louis and hurt, spontaneosly.
Newly engaged to Gekko’s daughter (Carey Mulligan) , he seeks the help the former Wall Street felon, now out of prison. Initially successful, he gets stuck in a web when his personal and professional interests intertwine. His undeniable brilliance and huger tag him a protégé, by mentors and adversaries alike. Every character has his agenda, masked by a deceiving exterior as he plays out his game. With every revelation the fact that there is no trust in the money business is reimposed.
Past events are relayed in financial jargon. The lengthy dialogue could have been replaced by brief flashes to maintain momentum. While events are dynamic, the overall pace is slow tided over by impeccable performances. There is not one actor that can be criticized and Shia LeBeouf proves himself as one of the most bankable actors today.
The movie uses an analogy of bubbles to encompass the main elements of success, failure, greed, money and relationships. Mirroring recent financial crises, it’s about the money for the people of the money. For some it’s a necessity, for others a profession and a few an obsession. None can deny the power of it today. It penetrates our lives like a drug, and the more you get, the more you want.
The second edition of Wall Street is more for the banker than the layman.