Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps 2010 is the sequel to Wall Street 1987 and both directed by Oliver Stone. Is there really a difference in power, money and greed? No. Is there a difference in jealousy, hatred and backstabbing among Wall Street competitors? No. Is Gordon Gekko back in top form after a stint in prison? Yes. Is he peddling his famous line, “Greed is Good?” Yes. He also has a new catch phrase called, “Greed is Legal.”
Michael Douglas reprises his Oscar winning role in this sequel as Gordon Gekko. He has spent some time in prison. When he gets released no one is there to greet him including his estranged daughter Winnie Gekko (Carey Mulligan). While Gordon was behind bars he wrote a novel about “wall street” and money. Winnie’s boyfriend Jake Moore (Shia Labeouf) wants to get to know Gordon and learn from him. He is an up and coming player on Wall Street in 2008.
Jake’s mentor and boss Louis Zabel (Frank Langella) is in a financial crisis. He may be forced to sell his company stock to a ruthless banking suit named Bretton James (Josh Brolin). They had been competitors and fierce enemies for years. Zabel reluctantly sells and meets his end. Jake is devastated and joins Bretton’s team in the hopes of exacting some kind of revenge. He doesn’t know how or when. He has to survive because his boss sold everything and people are out of work.
Jake approaches Gordon after a seminar and wants to get to know him more on a human level. Gordon appeases this young buck and sees himself in Jake. They make a trade and I must say Gordon is a lion preying on a naïve antelope. It is in those wicked eyes of his. You don’t know where he’s going to go next. He does however want to reunite with his daughter who despises him. They strike a deal. Jake asks Winnie to meet with her dad and Gordon gives Jake some insider information.
Through all of this the stock market plummets in 2008 and people lose their jobs. The banks are asking for bailouts from the U.S. Congress and the real estate world stalls. There are incredible behind-the-scenes boardroom meetings and arguments. Jake sends back an expensive diamond ring and his mother (Susan Sarandon) is forced to get a real job. She can no longer sell houses to people. Wall Street crumbles but Gordon is back to play the game and win anyway he can.
I read some of what the critic reviewers have said about Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps. They ask, where is the middle and lower class struggle in this brand new recession? What are the effects on society as a whole? Did director Oliver Stone miss the boat on what actually happened in 2008?
None of those questions matter because this film is about how in one sense Wall Street hasn’t changed in 23 years. “Greed” is still the word but it has been cranked up by today’s technology. Gordon leaves prison with a 1980’s mobile phone that was a symbol of yesterday’s communication. Today, cell phones, blackberry’s and the Internet has pushed Wall Street up to the speed of light. Gossip, insider information and the media have secrets on all the money players. Everybody is fair game.
Through the eyes of Gordon we see all of the change with technology. He jumps on board, uses it, plus his old tricks and succeeds. The players may be different but the game is still about “money.” Gordon knows how to play and he is back to win. We can all sit back and enjoy watching him do it too. Greed has never looked better on Gekko.