Movie Review: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS Out of jail and reborn as a lecture-circuit prophet just as 2008's "economic Pearl Harbor" hits, Michael Douglas' chastened Gordon Gekko takes time to coach young trader and aspiring son-in-law Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf), who's looking to visit revenge on Bretton James (Josh Brolin), the hedge-fund stud who crushed his Bear Stearns–esque old employer and left the company for dead. Impressed with Jake's sabotage attempts, Bretton decides to keep his enemy closer and hires the whiz kid himself. LaBeouf, whose wholly inexplicable celebrity suggests he has compromising photos of God, is tasked with reflecting the film's subtler dilemmas, such as whether his old boss's honest incompetence is nobler than James' wicked efficiency. But projecting ambition through a pert frown and intent gum-chewing, he's flat and dull where he needs to gleam. The white-collar skullduggery includes some fun pissing contests, but Jake's merger with the Gekko family is all melodrama, no wit. And Money Never Sleeps is less a public pillorying of financial-sector bad guys than a study in opportunistic personalities. "We're all mixed bags" is the conclusion of Oliver Stone's unwieldy mixed bag of a movie. Regarding power, Stone's ideas are best summed up by the hippie chick at the Lincoln Memorial in Nixon: "You can't stop it, can you? Even if you wanted to. It's not you. It's the system." Floating off on a faux-naive happy ending, one takes the lesson from Money Never Sleeps that there are no villains — or that villains are all there are. (Nick Pinkerton) ((Citywide))
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