“Wall Street 2” lives up to the hype. Twenty three years later, Oliver Stone brings the same intensity to his follow-up film while incorporating all of the new technology on Wall Street. The plotline is riveting. The movie also makes sure to include background on important and related events, such as the U.S. financial collapse immediately following 9/11.
The beginning of the movie is marked by Gordon Gekko’s (Douglas) 2002 release from prison after he has served eight years behind bars.
It is now the year 2008, and a young trader named Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf) is living in New York City and working on Wall Street. He works at Keller Zabel Investments, where he is the protégé of its managing director, Lewis Zabel (Frank Langella). Jake wants all the wealth and fortune that the alluring glare of Wall Street holds. He is also a big proponent of fusion technology, a possible source of alternative energy that could be used in the future. Nobody else seems to be on board with the idea though.
Jake lives with his girlfriend, Winnie (Carey Mulligan), who happens to be the estranged daughter of defamed stockbroker Gordon Gekko. Moore has a sort of fondness and admiration for Gordon, but Winnie wants no part of her father and grows annoyed with Jake’s fascination. The earlier part of the movie is characterized by the unreliable nature of life on Wall Street, and suddenly Jake finds that his company is on the verge of going under. He tries to get some answers from a disillusioned Zabel, but he cannot make sense of them.
Jake ends up meeting Gordon Gekko after attending one of his lectures. He gets Gekko’s attention by telling him he’s going to marry his daughter. The two begin talking, and develop a peculiar friendship. Gordon acts as something in between a mentor and an adviser to Jake, who is still rattled from the fallout of Keller Zabel. The Chicago Tribune’s review of the movie likened Gekko’s position in between a good father figure (Langella) and a bad one (James Brolin) to his lizard name. He is very suave; business-savy and sneaky.
A resourceful Gordon reveals to Jake some of the past business dealings that dominated Wall Street. These relationships have influenced the current state of the market. With this Gekko gives the young trader some insight as to who was behind the collapse of Keller Zabel. Armed with this knowledge, Jake sets out to bring down those he believes are responsible.
Both the storyline and character connections make “Wall Street 2” compelling. It holds you the whole way through.
The picture is absolutely beautiful. Aside from good camera work, the movie was shot during a gorgeous time of year in NYC.
The film seemed to be the perfect length. It is not drawn out, nor is it short. All of the events in the movie flow logically together. There are some different transitioning techniques used as well.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Kirk Honeycutt summed it up nicely: “Money Never Sleeps” is that rare sequel that took its time – 23 years – so it not only advances a story but also has something new to say.”
“Wall Street 2” has its own modern twist, one that allows it to act as a sequel or as an individual film with equal credit.
Bottom line: 5 out of 5 stars: Shia LaBeouf gives the performance of his career in this movie. Michael Douglas cannot disappoint as the ever-crafty Gekko. LaBeouf and Mulligan’s real-life chemistry obviously transfers to the big screen.
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