Oliver Stone‘s Wall Street is a drama-documentary or vice-versa? A Documentary, because, it does highlight some of the facts of what happened in 2008. Of course, the catch phrase of 2000’s was referenced here Too Big To Fail, which has already morphed into books, TV series and the likes. The sad part is that we are still suffering from it.
The premise is the one who started Greed is good is now released from prison. The lonely Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) is standing at the gate waiting for a pick-up; a limo drives by and a shady gangster gets in; on the other side, another gangster is welcomed by his family members; but no one there for Gekko. Irony, eh!
The drama part focuses lightly on the relationship between Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf), a realist as he puts it, and a grass-root journalist, Winnie Gekko (Carey Mulligan). Jake also is a believer in green energy, blah, blah. Guess the story is saying the younger generation is no longer about greed, but sustainability, or cleaning up the mess the last generation has built. Hence, we have the tug between Jake and his mother (Susan Sarandon). To emphasize the point, she turns back to her old “real” job of nursing, and works for a boss again.
At one point of the film, it says speculation is the evil of all evils! In other words, as Gekko puts it at a speech he gives,” while I am in jail, greed gets greedier”. The other frame of reference is moral hazard, and that’s when there is no ends to the handouts ( stimulus package, anyone!)
Despite this is a sequel to one of the iconic movies Wall Street (1987), on itself, it is a must-see movie, because there are moments we feel the pains of Gekko, and seeing the other side of him, which is enhanced by Jake’s relationship with him throughout. The ambiguity of Jake’s motives is also what makes this movie interesting: is he Gekko 2, just as greedy and manipulative? or grounded, loyal and empathetic to his girlfriend Gekko’s daugther Winnie?
As stark contrast, we have Bretton James (Josh Brolin) as a CEO at one of the top investment banks, who fits into that greed is now greedier frame. As the saying goes, what goes up must come down! Great performance from Josh Brolin! Watch the scene when he got booted from the board.