Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wall Street 2

Written by Michelle Hennessy

Oliver Stone fans were thrilled to be able to see the great director’s first sequel to one of his own movies this weekend.  Over 20 years ago, the renowned filmmaker began his sky-rocket to fame with the hit movie “Wall Street” starring Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen.  With the economy collapsing, Stone decided to revisit his hit-making film, and audiences flocked to the theater to watch.

Anyone knowing anything about Oliver Stone is aware of his right-winged political idealism and knows that Stone is unafraid to make a political statement in his work.  Because the economy has been making headlines for two years now, moviegoers expected to see Stone’s perspective on screen.  And that is just what they got.

Upon being released from an eight year prison stint for insider trading, Gordon Gekko finds himself alone in a changed world.  He decides to work his way back to the top by selling a book based on his own experiences as a stockbroker in a booming economy, titled “Greed is Good,” a philosophy he has followed throughout his career.  Miles away, up-and-comer stockbroker Jake Moore watches an interview with Gekko on television and abruptly has the television turned off by his girlfriend, Winnie Gekko.  Jake climbs the Wall Street ladder in a rising economy, until one fateful day when everything changed.  The country’s entire financial system takes a huge hit and begins to plummet uncontrollably.  So, against any of his girlfriend’s wishes, Jake goes to a seminar to see Gordon Gekko speak.  At this momentous meeting, the two men begin a “trading” relationship for favors that each desires.  Gekko begins to help his new apprentice work the down-turned economy and continue to be successful, utilizing his financial genius, in turn for chances to mend his relationship with his estranged daughter.  But, as is typical with Gordon Gekko, not everything is as it seems.

Michael Douglas reclaims one of his pivotal roles and reminds audiences everywhere what a film icon he truly is.  Master of the screen that he is, Douglas shines in every moment of the film.  Nothing else can be said about him except that he is pure perfection in this movie.  Stone obviously was looking for up-and-coming actors to portray the young couple, and Kathleen Chopin and Sarah Finn made the perfect choice in casting Carey Mulligan as Winnie Gekko.  The young celebrity’s star is continually rising, and her acting in this film certainly will keep up that momentum.  However, Chopin and Finn could have done better in selecting the young male lead.  Shia LaBeouf has yet to make an impression on audiences, and although he does give his best performance to date, he is still only mediocre.  As for the supporting cast, they all did a phenomenal job.  Josh Brolin was his usual stellar self, as was Frank Langella.  Moviegoers got the rare opportunity to see Eli Wallach on the big screen, which was another little treasure in this picture.

Oliver Stone’s directing style is unique, and while audience members may not always agree with his political leanings, they can all agree that his style is flawless and elegant in every movie he makes.  Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps is no exception.  His subtle sense of humor is infiltrated in many great moments of the film, and every second is crafted both masterfully and intelligently.  The script was also superb, with shrewd wit and elegance throughout.  Alan Loeb and Stephen Schiff are both relative newcomers to screenplay writing, but each already has a handful of fantastic work under his belt: Loeb being credited with the scripts for both “21″ and “The Things We Lost in the Fire,” and Schiff having written “Lolita” and “The Deep End of the Ocean.”  The two men working together create fantastic work, and moviegoers will certainly get the opportunity to enjoy more of their work in the future.  Other notable elements of the film were the art direction and editing.  With such credits under his belt as “The Ice Storm” and “The Thomas Crown Affair,” art director Paul D. Kelly is no amateur, and his expertise is clear throughout the movie.  All of his elements match Stone’s subtle directing style and creates an exquisite visual experience.  David Brenner and Julie Monroe are both film editors that Oliver Stone uses frequently, and their collaborative work is impeccable, as every scene seamlessly follows the next.

Wall Street 2 is a fantastic film, and there are so many wonderful subtleties throughout.  Viewers not only get to embark on a thrilling cinematic adventure with more surprises that they even bargained for, but they also get to delve deeper into the world of Wall Street and the corruption that has led to the countrie’s economic downfall.  Equally thought-provoking and hard-hitting, as well as intelligent and flawless, Wall Street 2 is a must-see movie.

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