Director: Oliver Stone
In what turns out to be the first sequel he’s ever made, Oliver Stone returns to a character that seemed to sum up the spirit of the 1980s and the insatiable nature of Western Capitalism. Despite his status as a villain in Stone’s 1989 original, the corrupt and ruthless stockbroker Gordon Gekko (and his mantra of “Greed is good”) became a hero to many at a time when – for many – the accumulation of wealth was all.
Gekko is now older and wiser thanks to a stint in prison for insider trading. On his release he returns to see a financial market on the brink of collapse and a world that has somewhat passed him by. Enter young broker Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf, who tries hard but also seems somewhat out of his depth), who befriends Gekko after he reveals that he’s going to be marrying Gekko’s estranged daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan, who has a severe haircut, an even more severe scowl and not much else). Moore enlists Gekko’s help as he tries to bring down the man who caused the suicide of his mentor, whilst watching the entire financial sector come apart. All Gekko wants is his daughter back. Isn’t it?
After dealing with some heavyweight political themes in both features and documentaries over the past few years, Stone takes a much more lightweight approach than audiences have been used to. Even when dealing with the worst financial crisis in global history Stone seems rather toothless opting to focus on individuals rather than the system as a whole. The trouble is that the only problem that our protagonists face is becoming a little less rich than they were before, and the entire crisis feels like an inconvenience rather than the devastating catastrophe it was for many ordinary people.
That said, Michael Douglas is brilliant as Gekko as he acts everyone off the screen, whilst Stone is clearly having enormous fun as he utilises every camera trick in the book.
As a comment on the recession it’s a spineless failure, but as a piece of entertaining fluff it does its job well.
Now showing in all three countries.