Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

23 years later and money is still messed up.

Trader Jake (Shia LaBeouf) tries to mend the broken relationship between his fiancée, Winnie (Carey Mulligan), and her father, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), while avenging the fate of his mentor, Lou (Frank Langella), by getting close to Wall Street’s new megalomaniac, Bretton James (Josh Brolin).

After seeing the first Wall Street, I realized just how much things with money in today’s world hasn’t changed at all really. However, it seems the cheese factor for this type of material hasn’t either.

Director Oliver Stone has always been a favorite director of mine because he always knows how to make any story seem interesting with his great use of style but here he shows that those skills are starting to fall apart. Stone relies too much on montages, almost the same ones we saw from the first one, and quick cuts that try to bring off some sign of rapidness in the Wall Street world but overall none of it actually works.

Having this film set in the time of the 2008 financial crisis seemed like a perfect move for this story but it doesn’t really actually explore that nor does it actually try to explore the relationship between Gekko and his daughter, or any other story for that matter. Basically all the little sub-plots here and there seem totally forced and actually muddled in the end since it doesn’t really seem like Stone knows what story to focus on the most or which one will have the most effect. So what he does is just have all the stories play out at once, but to no effect whatsoever.

With the first one too, the film showed a lot of the dark and mean sides to having business on Wall Street but none of that was really even here to glue me in by how gritty and bad everything is. The one-liners also don’t have the zing they once used to because it all seems so dated as if Stone were just trying to do what he did with the first one but none of it was actually funny or even catchy, just lame and at times just totally forced.

However, my only real favorite thing about this film is the actual performances from the cast. Michael Douglas seems like a natural in his role as Gordon Gekko and plays the anti-hero here rather than the villain but still makes it all work. Douglas knows how to make bad seem cool in so many ways and it’s good to see him do what he does best here. The sad thing though is that it really just feels like him playing the same character, just a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and a lot more grumpier.

Shia LaBeouf is the real star here actually playing his soon to be son-in-law Jake, who works on Wall Street and just so happens to be in a relationship with a Wall Street legend’s daughter. I actually liked Shia in this role because I think he handles a lot of the financial talk really well and gives us that idea that he really can hold a film on his own it only matters if he’s given a good enough role. Carey Mulligan is good at displaying any emotion just by using her face as Winnie; Josh Brolin is good as this dickish rival hedge-fund manager, Bretton James; and Frank Langella is also very good in a small, but powerful role as Lewis Zabel, a man way past his time. There’s also a small performance from Susan Sarandon here as well as Jake’s mom that doesn’t even seem meaningful to the story at all but more just to have an Oscar winner on the set.

Consensus: The cast may help this get through most parts, but Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps has a crappy title (obviously), really piss-poor writing that doesn’t have any actual emotional depth or any connection to the characters, and has no real swift style that Oliver Stone has shown in many of his other films, especially the first Wall Street. A huge disappointment.



  1. I’ve stated in comments about this film that if it weren’t for Michael Douglas, Eli Wallach, and Frank Langella. This film would’ve made my list in the 0 star Hall of Shame.

    Still, I hated this movie. It had none of the heart that made the first film so great. It was pointless. I hate Shia LaBeouf for the fact that he spends part of the film looking very smug and I wanted to bitch-slap that little shit. Carey Mulligan is wasted as she spends half the film crying and moaning and blah, blah, blah. Her character has the worst development on the film. Josh Brolin doesn’t get much to do and neither does Susan Sarandon.

    Then there was that pointless Charlie Sheen cameo. Where the fuck did that come from? That’s not Bud Fox, that’s Charlie “Tiger Blood” Sheen being himself. I didn’t buy the idea of Bud Fox selling off his dad’s company after making it very successful nor the idea of him with two ladies. That isn’t what the character is supposed to be. He’s supposed to be successful and content to the fact that he saved Bluestar from being obliterated and still being rich off of that.

    I wish there was a list of what once great directors should retire and Oliver Stone is on top of that list. Failure after failure after failure was horrifying to watch since the debacle that was Alexander no matter what cut it’s in. After that, it just got worse and this film is him at the bottom. He should just fucking retire and let someone else get a chance to make movies because he’s done.

  2. Completely agree with your thoughts on this one. It really was a very disappointing movie although Douglas did show that he can easily slip into that character and make it interesting to watch him.

  3. nah, I didn’t think this film was any good either. In my review, due online next month, I used the term “lumbering”, it moved so slowly. There didn’t seem to be any spark of energy in Stone’s direction, nor in the story. Personally, i thought the story was the weakest part of the whole thing – although I do admit to enjoying Shia’s performance more than I should have. Great review, Dan, as usual!

    • Stone just seemed to be phoning it in here and there was no real driving force, or actual exciting factor to this lame story. Shia was good though! Thanks Rodney!

  4. Oh! I was expecting this one to be good, because the cast seemed great on paper. 😦 Also, the first movie was priceless. Too bad about this one.

    Glad I read this review! And the first line is so damn true. 😀

  5. I too think Shia Leboeuf can be a good actor if he doesn’t pick horrible parts (Transformers). For example in Disturbia — while it was a Rear Window ripoff –, I thought he was quite good. Haven’t seen this one, but I saw the original, which I liked. Natural Born Killers and U-Turn are probably my favourite Stone movies. Haven’t seen all of them, though.

  6. This movie put me to sleep. Absolutely horrendous and the story doesn’t even focus on one character (it should have been Gekko) which makes it even less effective. Add to that Stone’s over-indulgence and you have an overlong, not-so compelling film about greed.

  7. I tended to think a little better about this one and the relationships amid the characters involved. Just my thoughts. (http://wp.me/pWaTa-kZ)

    I laughed reading an unexpected line in your review. This isn’t the type of sentence that most people would EVER expect to read!: “Shia LaBeouf is the real star here…” haha, LOVE it!

  8. I wish that they had left the Gordon Gecko character out of it and had it following Charlie Sheen’s character – would have made for a more interesting story having the main character from the first movie back, and would have given Stone a subject – that of released felons trying to get on with their lives – that he could have really tried to tackle, having THAT character have to try to mend fences with HIS father would have worked better.

  9. My main problem with this movie was that it was so obvious to everyone that Gekko was going to act like a bad guy here. So I wasn’t able to sympathize with Shia’s character because I thought he should have seen it coming.

  10. I feel like most people do about this movie in that it wasn’t horrible but just bland, forgettable and never needed to be made. A waste of so much talent in front and behind the camera.

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