Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

I’m no great fan of Oliver Stone.  While I wouldn’t downgrade him to the “hack” level I place M. Night Shyamalan on, it’s pretty safe to say that Stone is a perpetually flawed filmmaker so hellbent on making socially relevant films that he too oft forgets to also attempt to make them decent pieces of entertainment.   Many of Stone's films fall in to one of two categories; they're either bland, lifeless, overly political pieces of work, or frenetic, unfocused, overly political wax works.  That said, there are only one or two Oliver Stone films I can say I've enjoyed.  At the top of the list is the original Wall Street, which, in spite of the lovefests surrounding Platoon or Born on the Fourth of July I think is perhaps Stone’s best effort.   The 1987 film managed to be timely as well as original.  Stone couldn't rest on his historical laurels, he had to build up the story to construct its characters, and the resulting portrait of corruption and money mongering sentiments paid off.  We remember Wall Street for its depiction of an era, the oft ironically confused quotation of its mantras, and the way it worked like bad prophecy on the decades since.   When I first heard that Stone was working on a sequel to the film, the then titled Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps (someone, wisely, has since dropped the tacky '2'),  I thought it was completely absurd.   It seemed like an especially low point in the Hollywood recycling machine; churning up another old drama with another, now significantly less edgy, aging star.  It didn't work with Basic Instinct 2, and I'd hate to see a sudden repeat for Fatal Attraction, so why dig up Wall Street from its palce in the cultural consciousness and redefine it to forever be associated with Shia LaBeouf.....

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