All hyped up by the SEC's flash crash report, I trotted off to see Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps on Sunday. The movie was proof that, even if money itself doesn't sleep, movies about money can send you to sleep. Oliver Stone's take on the 2008 financial crisis was almost as bad as CNBC's original take. (And then we had to watch CNBC do it ALL OVER AGAIN in the movie.) Seeing non-financial types squirm over explaining credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations does not amusing cinema make.I think whoever wrote the screenplay fell asleep trying to understand the nuances of a very complicated series of events and issues.
I loved the "A" story - Gordon Gekko gets out of prison, wants his money back so he can get back to raping and pillaging the idiots in this world. But somewhere along the line, the "B" story took over - mixed bunch of evil bankers (who the Hell was Josh Brolin supposed to be? He had John Thain's office, for sure) are....hmm. Doing what bankers do, which is not really movie material.
The "C" story - a love story between Gekko's daughter (the British Carey Mulligan was excellent as an American do-gooder) and the most-likely-to-be-killed-by-a-Disney-baddie Shia LeBeouf - took over and finished whatever promise the movie might have had. What is the point of Shia LeBeouf? He is not a great actor, his looks are odd (his nose could have been crafted for Mr. Potato Head dolls), and he is the least financial-looking type ever.
There were some good moments, however, most of which involved Michael Douglas. His Gordon Gekko character was intact, if weathered. Josh Brolin was all smooth looks and evil smiles, which could have gone a lot further. Maybe if Brolin had played hedge fund honcho John Paulson, squaring off against Gekko to see who could short the credit market the furthest without going bankrupt, we would have had more action. And I would have stayed awake.