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|Index||212 reviews in total|
This may be Michael Douglas' best movie ever. He played the greedy stock manipulator to the hilt. Charlie Sheen also did a fine job as the up and coming stock broker with a conscience. Lots of intense dialogue in this one, so if action movies are your thing I suggest you avoid this film.
Dear lord, I have never seen so many greedy and heartless people in my
entire life!! This movie is about a young and impatient stock broker
who feels the need to get to the top. He spends his time idolizing and
trying to get in touch with billionaire Wall Street tycoon, Gordon
Gecko(Douglas in a good, but heartless Oscar winning performance.) He
finally gets in touch with him and soon begins working for him, giving
him inside tips about his father's(Martin Sheen, as an aircraft
mechanic) company and helping him buy up other company stocks. But
things soon start to get ugly when Gecko begins to have sinister plans
for his father's company that will put even more money in his pockets.
An entertaining story, but an absence of any likable characters, except for the two Sheen's as father and son leaves you with a sour taste in your mouth. Hearing Gordon Gecko say that "greed is good" and that its your own fault if you are not rich was enough to make me hate his character. This movie truly shows how capitalism can get way out of hand, and how some people just do not care about anything except for being the richest person in the country. Some people just have way too much and many times its just luck.
I would recommend this movie for anyone who enjoys a good business film, but don't be surprised if you find yourself hating many of the characters in this greedy film. ***1/2 out of *****.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You might think Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas are the stars of
"Wall Street." But Gekko is just a lizard, cold-blooded. A lizard is
low, stays low, and gets even lower. If he wants to try to fly to the
cold, cold moon, let him. It would be a good place for him. He doesn't
have a goal: he already reached it. He's like a cat playing with a
mouse he already killed to see if he can get it to move. In one brief
moment Gekko catches sight of the rising sun, and it stirs him more
than any artwork he could buy. But that sun was shrouded in clouds,
indistinct, blurrynot enough to warm his blood. Like a vampire he
cannot take the light for long. Even his exercise is in a windowless
hardball court. His office is as spacious as a house, but there is no
joy in it. He's dead. Notice, at lunch, he doesn't even eat; he doesn't
He runs as a machine and by machinesone keeps constant his blood pressure. His days are formulaic: pick one winner a day out of 100 presented to him. He's all numbers: inhuman. He might as well be a chart. He has a wife, but she is strangled by possessions, with thirty strands of silver round her neck rather than one. And who could stand their kid: He's just a possession. When he whimpers like a normal kid whimpers he gets sent to a nursemaid: get him outta here. Gekko's cold hardness is the atmosphere,echoed in the skyscrapers. Unregulated capitalism has run amok. Industry, once industriousness, is now run by greed and abstractions. Nobody makes anything but money.
The premise is: we cannot be someone we are not. You cannot get away from your roots or you die. We are anchored where we come from; only then can we blossom from a bud. Sheen's name is Bud he has not grown up yet, but he will. Gekko has no pastwe do not even know where he is from. He remains true to those roots: he was and is nothing. He had "an ethical bypass at birth." He is an unchanging constant. The plot concerns the fates of the two contenders who dance upon the ground of that premise: father and son. Son wants to blossom, father wants to pass along the wisdom of the warm blooded Owl, the name of the bar. Foxes are warm blooded. Gekko is cold, like steel.
Bud wants to flower; in the end he does. He flowers into a man who takes responsibility for his actions. By turning state's evidence, he does his part to bring humans back to earth, not figments of imagination who think they can fly to the moon. Bud got caught in the fever of unrestricted financial bounty, and he thought he wanted to flower into a money maker. When we saw him with a warm blooded girlfriend in the beginning, he moved right away from her nakedness to his computer screen to gaze at numbers. He wanted to go up and up and upas up go elevators in high rises, crushing people. His work buddy said, "She has a pulse, doesn't she?" Bud joked back, "Don't bet on it." Look into the mirror, Bud: you didn't either. He made better love to Fortune Magazine.
Plot point #1: Bud takes the bait of the devil. Sell your soul, become inhuman, like me. Bud looks back into the limousine and says, "Deal." The Fox was trapped by the smell of numbers.
Act II is a long sandy stretch of how the rich folks, Bud a misplaced flower among them, do anything for and with moneybut it's not nourishing. With trophy girlfriend Darian he cooks a meal in their opulent coop, but it's a meal too perfect to eatand they say so. This life does not nourish. Nothing satisfies these cravings. Darian says she wants "the best of everything." "Why stop at that?" he asks. "I don't." She likes her little bud, but not enough to stop two-timing him with the lizard. The opulence suffocates the bud: after making love, he goes to the window as if to try to breathe. You can't be who you are notyou can't be a man who eats spaghetti and calls it pasta. It's spaghetti. He does not yet know that he's run by that natural law that states you have to be who you are, but that's the sneaky way natural laws operates: it operates despite our ignorance. What he really wants is to grow up and be recognized as an adult. Unlike a real father, the lizard coaches him to be ruthless, illegal, and cold: to participate with whores thinly disguised as women, to buy expensive suits to make him seem to be what he is not. To die.
At plot point #2 he discovers Gekko's plan to liquidate Blue Star Airlines. He'd have to go against his flesh and blood. Of the father, Gekko says. "He'll never have to work another day in his life." But Carl Fox lives to work. With the option of fully uprooting himself and his father, Bud awakens from the stupor of money. Dignity was, in the final analysis, passed from father to son.
Now we see Bud leaning against a tree in Wall Street. A tree! A tree amidst all the concrete! He returns home to sit on the floor, get grounded, and eat pizza from a box. He's back down to his roots. Out goes the girlfriend, buh bye goes the lofty apartment, and bud is ready to blossom. The tape to his chest is his umbilical cord; he tears it off when his birthing is done. The prison cell, a temporary womb, will spawn him into a new being, a human one. A father raised a son. He blossomed in the park.
They both got what they wanted.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Normally I would write a commentary on a movie within a few days of
seeing it, however I have made an exception to this film because I
really don't want to go through the bother of trying to find it again,
and then sitting through two hours that the film takes to reach its
conclusion. It is not that it is a bad movie, but rather it is a movie
that I am not really all that interested in watching again. The only
reason that I ended up watching this movie again (I have seen it twice
now) was because I wanted to watch it before watching the sequel.
We all know what this movie is about, and in fact this movie ended up creating a culture on Wall Street, with the style of shirt that Gordon Gecko wears being called a Gecko, and the phrase 'Greed is good' being bandied about. What is generally forgotten though is that the actual phrase is 'for lack of a better word, greed is good'. Rather surprising coming from a film whose intention is to actually criticise the casino culture of Wall Street, and the fact that people are stepping over the boundaries of illegality for the sack of greed. I guess though that the Wall Street millionaires that ended up watching this film probably did not see their actions actually being illegal (even though, like Gordon Gecko, they were practising insider trading and asset stripping companies acts which in the end put Gordon Gecko behind bars).
Unlike the sequel, which was made in response to the Global Financial Crisis, the original was made during one of Wall Street's hey days, when the market was going up and many people believed that the sky was the limit. However within a year the entire edifice would end up coming under strain when the Savings and Loans scandal hit and caused a stockmarket crash, followed by a recession, in America. Still, nobody learnt from their mistakes, and even before the crash on 08, there were a number of other crashes (and recessions) that preceded it.
The other problem with films criticising Wall Street is, as I said, the Wall Street bankers generally do not take much notice of it, and those who do, generally do not have much influence to actually do anything about it. On the other hand those of us plebs who watch this film are reminded that those people in their ivory towers may be living the good life, but it does not last forever, and sometimes, having a clear conscience, is much better than having more money that you know what to do with.
Wall Street is a good movie with a good storyline and a great cast,a
terrific performance is delivered by Charlie Sheen in one of his first
major movie roles,back in a time when he was a much more mature
actor,but drugs or Chuck Lorre became a part of his life.The cast is
great,and great performances where also delivered by Michael Douglas
and Martin Sheen,but I don't get why Michael Douglas's name come first
in the opening credits,because the movie all revolves around Bud Fox.
Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) is a young stockbroker who is willing to anything to get himself to the top,but he makes some deals with people he will soon regret.
"You know what capitalism is?" By using the F-word in a passive form,
we could have wondered whether it was Tony Montana or Oliver Stone, the
writer, expressing his personal bias in the crime epic "Scarface".
Well, "Wall Street" features a less criminal setting, but does work as a continuation of the powerful diatribe against the capitalist mentality initiated by Stone in "Scarface", much more explicit this time, because the most American director appropriately targets America's sensitive nerve. And "Wall Street', although carrying the mark of the 80's hasn't lost one ounce of relevance in 25 years.
The script itself is full of universal aphorisms and historical references justifying that either "greed, for lack of a better word is good" or that "the rich have been doing it to the poor since the beginning of time." Finance divides the worlds into categories, 1% that owns half the wealth, and the poor exploited schmucks. That's how it worked, works and will always work. And it's impossible to review the film without thinking of the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement or a figure like Bernie Madoff who reduces Gordon Gekko to the level of a three-card trick player.
Stone said he wanted to make "Wall Street" because he's always been shocked by the 25-30 year old golden boys who accumulated lifetime fortunes from speculation, epitomizing the most pervert aspect of the American Dream and caricaturing the notion of self-made-men to the extreme. The possibility to get wealthy without creating wealth is not just the most hideous face of capitalism that Stone unveils; it's the core of Gordon Gekko's behavior, a modern illustration of the law of the jungle. Money is not created, only transferred, and it's a zero - sum game where you either win or lose. By this admission, Gekko belies his own tribute to greed as a driving value because greed drives nothing but one's own egoism.
"Wall Street" works as ferocious and eye-opening journey into a rotten system seen through the sparkling eyes of a young newcomer, Buddy Fox (Charlie Sheen), a broker in a Wall Street firm and Gordon Gekko's number one fan. Fox grew up in a modest family and his father Carl, played by Martin Sheen, is a mechanic and union leader who tried to inculcate values in total opposition with Gekko's. Gekko, in fact, can't consider any value that doesn't end with a dollar sign. It's precisely Fox's poverty that drove his voracious appetite, contradicting the archetype of inner nobility in poverty. And it's obvious that the Gekko-Fox duo, despite the bestial connection, plays on a father-and-son relationship as Gekko recognizes himself in Fox.
Once he gets to Gekko's office, Fox knows he's given a lifetime opportunity, and plays his card well by providing resourceful information for Gekko. And Gekko is not just a mentor for the sake of it, he uses Fox to flatter his ego and his portfolio, which are both gigantic. But the price for Fox is to renounce his ethics and principles. By breaking financial secrets, Fox sells his soul, and never has the 'deal with the devil' expression been so literal. The price he put is illustrated in the following sequence: a success montage that finds the right balance between looking appealing and appalling, over the top in every meaning of the word.
Fox gets a new apartment, decorated by Darlene, a fittingly tall, blonde and beautiful girl from Gekko's inner circle. The film reveals its only real handicap with the casting of Daryl Hannah, who looks in a perpetual inner conflict with the superficiality of her character. Nevertheless, the scene where she decorates the apartment mostly with fake furniture shows how far we can get in bad taste and ugliness in the name of flashy newness. It's an interesting parenthesis against modern art and the design that characterized the decadence of the 80's, consisting on filling emptiness with the weirdest, ugliest stuff that even Gekko, who buys aesthetically limited paintings, fail to grasp.
And Fox embraces the 'all flash and no substance' mentality in both his work and private life, getting further and further from his roots, the price to pay: his principles, his father's respect, the reward: money, admiration, job promotion, and the blonde girl. What Fox lives is schematically pure "Scarface" wisdom: "once you get the money, you get the power, and when you get the power, you get the women", it's not just a critic of the perverse effects of the American Dream but of a system that tolerates men like Gekko. The difference between "Scarface" and "Wall Street" is that the central character paid the high price for his greed, while Fox is given a chance to redeem himself, a necessary step in his initiation. And Carl proves to be an important character as the counterpart of Gekko's mentality.
It was a strike of genius to cast Martin Sheen as Charlie's father, which adds to the emotionality of certain scenes. Yet, if someone ends up respecting Carl more than Gekko, it's still Michael Douglas's Oscar-winning performance that carries the film. Douglas made Gordon Gekko strangely fascinating. And if I'm not sure Gekko was meant to encourage vocations but maybe his 'Greed' quote served as a philosophical alibi to all the people who probably ruined the world 20 years later. But isn't the devil always charming and Gekko only incarnating to the core the style of the greatest screen villains, earning a #24 spot in AFI's Top 50 list.
And "Wall Street'" follows such a rich plot line with a pedagogic value on finance, that it needed a first-rate old fashioned villain to impact memories. The film has its flaws, Hannah's casting, an unforgivable reference to Challenger's explosion when the film takes place in 1985, but all in all, "Wall Street" is fresh, modern and remains one of the most significant movies of the 80's.
One of Oliver Stone's highlights in his career I must say. In order to truly realize what the film is about, it's not a bad idea to read up on philosophy. "Men condemn injustice thru fear of suffering it, not thru fear of committing it", Thrasymachus, or consider the tale of Glaucon and the ring; a story that's theme dwells on the fact that when a man has the chance to profit, he takes the chance, even at the expense of others; especially when immunity is involved. Take a gander at Plato's book "The Republic" and this film will become that much more meaningful.
Fueling all this is a spectacular cast. Ironically playing father and son, Martin Sheen and Charlie Sheen do superbly. Between the two is a question of loyalty, or riches. Daryl Hannah is quite good, and John C. McGinley fitted in nicely. All of these, however, are completely over shadowed by the incredible performance (in my opinion) of Michael Douglass. An image of power, money and forsaken morality, the character is downright exhilarating. The beauty of the film is that I myself am not really acquainted with Wall Street and business terminology. The nature of stocks rising and falling isn't my cup of tea, but the acting is so well done one hardly needs to, unlike in the recent sequel, where Shia receives a million dollar bonus and has a stoic reaction, to my distaste.
Wall Street is the perfect film for these money tight times. Which is probably why Stone decided to make a sequel. Wall Street is about gaining the respect of a father whilst avoiding the temptations of the world. Douglas steals the show as the fast talking snake with the whole world to play with. The Sheen's do a brilliant job at capturing a father-son dynamic (as you'd hope they would), from the love and trust to the betrayals. Wall Street manages to convey a simple message, Greed is bad, without being preachy or childish. Stone uses his traditional pacing to good effect as we are literally whisked away in a whirlwind of lusty promises. Shame about Hannah's flat and spacey role.
"America has become a second-rate power. Its trade deficit and its
fiscal deficit are at nightmare proportions." No, that's not Robert
Peston speaking on the Today Programme this morning it's Gordon Gekko
(Michael Douglas) nearly 25 years ago, from the speech that gave the
world the chilling mantra, "Greed is good".
There are tons of great quotes in Oliver Stone's classic corporate horror story. "What's worth doing is worth doing for money," claims Gekko, perpetuating the myth that the drive for profit and morality are somehow compatible. "How much is enough?" asks young buck Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), encapsulating the problem with rampant consumerism: it's a goddamn eating machine.
The natives that people New York's corporate jungle seem to speak in an entirely foreign language, wielding initialisms like poisoned spears: "don't know" becomes "D.K.", as if another soul isn't worth the breath of the softer syllables. No wonder Patrick Bateman went loopy. Meanwhile an undercurrent of Nietzschean moral defeatism colours the dastards' verbal transactions, with Gekko claiming that "Greed has marked the upward surge of mankind" albeit countered later when the avuncular Lou (Hal Holbrook) takes the nihilist philosopher's famous "abyss" quote and reverses its meaning. Unlike Stone's Scarface, Wall Street offers at least a glimmer of hope.
Stone effectively captures the bankers' joy and shell-shock through unfussy direction and stark fluorescent lighting, wisely displaying none of the cool corporate sheen employed by next-gen directors like Christopher Nolan and David Fincher.
Where the film stumbles is in a couple of key performances. While Michael Douglas deserved his Oscar, and John C. McGinley (as Marvin) and Martin Sheen (as Bud's father) provide excellent support, Charlie Sheen fails to find much range throughout his rise and fall, while Darryl Hannah, as the beach-haired object of Bud's affections, is a vessel as empty as one of Gekko's platitudes. Together they are wholly unconvincing, although this may be down to the cringe-worthy recourse to hackneyed melodrama that charts their relationship.
But these scenes don't spoil an otherwise flawless script that Aaron Sorkin would be proud to print out. This is one of those "people talking in rooms" films that Mark Kermode sometimes refers to, and it's a pleasure to listen (and grimace) as they talk, even as we come to the depressing conclusion that while the phones might have gotten smaller, and the salaries bigger, 1987 looks an awful lot like 2011.
Wall Street is a very good movie by Oliver Stone. I'm sure this movie
has gotten many young people in the finance world so they could follow
in the steps of Charlie Sheen's character. I thought that this movie
would be kind of boring but I found myself enjoying this movie very
This is about a young stockbroker who dreams to succeed in life and at his job. When he meets Gordon Gekko, his dreams becomes reality...or do they? The acting is brilliant.
Michael Douglas dazzles with his amazing performance of Gekko. Both Sheens(Charlie and Martin) do very well in their roles. However I did find Daryl Hannh miscast.
Overall, this is a great movie. I hope the sequel is just as good. I rate this film 8/10.
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