DIRECTOR: Oliver Stone
When looking to review a film like this, there are two distinct points of view to take in to a account:
The first being the contemporary context. That being that this was made in 1987, at the height of the Wall Street boom and that, at the time, this must have been a revelation for so many people, who still had either faith or ignorance about the financial institutions which had metamorphosed into the corrupt capitalist cancer which we all know today.
The later half of the 80’s was to herald the fall of the Gordon Gecco’s and this film, whilst reflecting its time, was also ushering in an era of doom for Wall Street, as well as the continuing propagation of this corruption which would lead to the 2008 crash which are still reeling from today.
So given that like so many films which have essentially whistle blown in there own time, Psycho (1960) also springs to mind, the impact is lessened by thirty years of dilution, in which case it would be unfair to judge the film harshly on the fact that it does not really tell us anything new today.
But when it comes to judging how well the film was made, that is surly timeless.
And considering that Oliver Stone put this together, I was disappointed. The characters where not only dislikable, which I am sure was intentional, they were also poorly written. People just come and go throughout and with the exceptions of Michael Douglas’ Gorden Gecco, Charlie Sheen’s Bud Fox and his real life father, Martin Sheen as Bud’s blue collar dad, the rest of the cast seemed to be wasted.
The plot was all over the place, inconstant and littered with goofs and continuity errors right from the get-go. In fact, it only took a few minutes before I was aghast that a film which begins in 1985 made a reference to Gecco’s ruthlessness by stating that he made money out of the Challenger disaster, which did not occur until January 1986!
Charlie Sheen’s character is difficult to sympathise with, not only because he is trying to be the villain, yet of course he finds his soul by the end, but that he is so utterly naive that it is beyond belief!
It is never clear how much money is being made, who has what or what the real gains or losses are by the end, to the point that whist it is implied that Sheen will be jailed for his insider trading, the film ends before he enters the court and Gecco, who has been recorded by Sheen confessing to his involvement, is never resolved at all!
By the end I was really annoyed by how shallow and lackadaisical the script was, seemingly only really interested in showing the power hungry greed of Wall Street traders at this time.
“Greed is good”.
Well, Mr Stone, so is some exposition.