Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is one of the best-framed sequels I have ever seen. The timing was impeccable. The original Wall Street starred Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, a corporate raider with no conscience, proclaiming “greed is good” who eventually gets arrested and convicted of insider trading. It came out in 1987 and was timely then, still in the Reagan years, the Internet not even heard of by the common American.
23 years later Michael Douglas, now with gray hair and a lot more wrinkles, plays Gekko again, a perfect setup. Against the backdrop of the Internet bubble collapse in 2000, 9/11 and finally the real estate bubble and mortgage meltdown of 2008, bringing Gordon Gekko back to Wall Street in a sequel was a brilliant move.
Directed by Oliver Stone, the movie tells the story of a young Wall Street upstart, Jake Moore (Shia LeBoeuf) and his fiancée Winnie Gekko, Gordon’s daughter, who both have the best intentions while getting sucked into a cat and mouse game of the biggest raiders in the world, those that caused the mortgage meltdown, tried to strong-arm the U.S. Treasury into the bail out and tried to make a killing for themselves in the process.
After eight years in federal prison, Gordon gets released, writes a book titled “Is Greed Good?” and becomes a financial visionary and oracle. He gives speeches and seminars, holds book signings and among other things predicts the mortgage meltdown. He makes a valiant effort to get back into good graces with his estranged daughter.
Watching the lifestyles and experiencing the thinking processes of the billionaires whose greed nearly took down the world economy is thought-provoking. Douglas plays a perfect elder tycoon. The story is engaging, emotional, if not at times a bit corny. This is a good movie, entertaining, well framed, extremely timely, and one of the best sequels I can remember – 23 years after the original.
Where have the years gone?