Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

The allure of money is a constant in practically every society, yet the 80s, crystallised the iconic notion of greed, as the subtle satire of 1987’s Wall Street went over the heads of the rising investor class. In 2010, with the recent economic collapse still fresh in the minds, and a wounded populace looking for answers, the masses returned to Gecko, and the allure of economic vengeance, in Wall Street Money Never Sleeps.

Gecko offers insight into the economic collapse that his brand of ruthlessness has caused. Yet what is his ultimate goal?

After spending some 15 years in Jail, Gecko is back, and he has written a book. Attracting the attention of Jake, he’s a good kid at heart, but works on Wall Street, after a bad trading day almost wipes out the firm he works for, Jake’s boss and mentor, Lou, kills himself. Now Jake wants vengeance against the man and firm that caused the short. He seeks out the guidance of his fiancé’s father, the same Gordon Gecko. Jake’s fiancé, Winnie, wants nothing to do with her father, especially after her brother took his own life. Yet Jake embraces his tutelage, on his path to redemptive financial warfare against Bretton James et al., Gecko wants nothing more than to get back lost time with his family. When swimming with sharks, will the mentor or the mentee get wiped out?

Winnie also offers a human side to Gecko’s destructive greed.

Wall Street, is more than happy to play up its legacy, quotable lines return, as the iconic cell phones, all while mitigating the follies of Fox, giving him a happy ending, along with a nice cameo from Charlie Sheen. Newcomers include Gecko-esque Brenton James played by James Brolin, and Susan Sarandon also appears as Jake’s mom, who also seems blinded by the then-booming housing bubble. Academy-Nominated Carey Mulligan plays Gecko’s daughter, giving us insight into the more human side of Gecko’s life, as the absentee father tries to rebuild, while she, remembering all the destruction his greed caused, wants none of it.

As well as economic shenanigans, Stone’s sequel also delves into mini documentaries about exciting new technologies!

The elephant in the room, or the film’s impetus, is the economic collapse, which many have seen as a direct result of the economic mantras proselytised by Gecko. Released almost two years after the event, hindsight is 20/20 after all, and Gecko here is seen with an almost Nostradamus-like insight into the collapse. Occasionally, Stone’s film will pivot into mini-documentaries, that showcase exciting new technology or the then-current economic intricacies (acting like a proto-The-Big-Short). David Byrne’s contributions do return to helping give the film a suitably appropriate soundtrack.

Sarandon’s subplot is another interesting wrinkle.

Just reeling off an economic disaster, Wall Street returns from the seduction of money to the seduction of vengeance. Suffice it to say, Money Never Sleeps has a lot on its plate, and if you lose track of the minutia, its performances will carry the audience through. You can tell Stone et al. have a lot to say and are using the pulpit of Wall Street to tell it. A lot has changed in the 23 years since the original, and if he isn’t satisfied with his retirement, then Gecko could have even more to say about crypto or other such ventures. Still, Money Never Sleeps doesn’t short its expectations.

Although technology has improved in the 23 years, the ethos on greed still remains!

If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!

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