"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," the sequel to Oliver Stone’s 1987 classic on greed, is set at a time when the global economy took a little nap. But even thought it might be a reaction to an actual economic crisis, providing a realistic portrait of the contemporary financial convolutions is far from a simple matter, and "Wall Street" appeals more as a mainstream blockbuster than a business documentary. Still, it is a very entertaining movie, and at times it even thoughtfully depicts the moral questions which arose during economic nap time.
The financial crisis is merely the backdrop. The plot revolves around the attempts of a young investment banker, Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf), to acquire financing for a clean energy company. Meanwhile, Gordon Gekko, a capitalist heroic villain played by Michael Douglas (reprising his 1987 role) persuades Jake to help him rekindle his relationship with estranged daughter Winnie, played by Carey Mulligan (who is also Jake’s fiancée).
Love for money and love for women blend in the movie; both are atrociously attractive. Like a woman, money reels you in and makes you fall in love. Characters lust after both, and their greed propels the movie through its many twists and turns, betrayals and romances, deals and dealings.
Stone and the director of photography Rodrigo Prieto collaborated to produce something that is fresh and entertaining, while being reflective of life on Wall Street. The atmosphere is fast-paced–motorcycles whiz past people in a blur–and imposing, with the tall buildings of lower Manhattan looming over almost every scene like dinosaurs, possibly heading for extinction.
Inside the cold buildings are big shots with inflated egos and very real feelings. Love for a woman, hatred for a rival and frustration over failure (and love for burgundy silk ties and lavish suits) all exist in the mania of the stock market, where numbers mean much more than life itself. But, still, it is life itself and its intricacies, that Stone zooms in on.
If you have an appetite for a dramatic analysis of the economic crisis, you will leave this movie hungry for more; money and the reality of today’s economic situation are a garnish only, but they decorate a fully entertaining meal.