Oliver Stone won’t be able to deny it: a movie, however good, cannot change rooted mentalities. More than twenty years ago, Wall Street, the first in the series, was gathering people all over the world in movie theatres. The heavy impact of the film couldn’t however incite anyone to stop trusting blindly in the power of money, it actually gave birth to more traders that believed in the vocation of playing around with it.
That’s why in the sequel, Wall Street/Money never sleeps, Oliver Stone came up with a less vehement interpretation of the overall situation. Here, a young idealistic trader (Shia LaBeouf), struggles not to fall for the orders of the heads of finance, who are a few treasons away from getting their pockets full of money. The thing that differentiates this movie from the original Wall Street is the more accurate presence of morality. The motto changed from <Greed is Good> (Gordon Gekko’s infamous line) to <Staying true to your values is better>.
As far as acting is concerned, I think everyone did a pretty decent job. Shia LaBeouf is at ease with the role of young trader. He is believable, managing to create just the right balance between the trader persona and the idealistic nature of a good natured (perhaps naïve) boy. On the other end of the line, Michael Douglas in the role of grandpa king who desperately wants to get his golden crown back is genius. Even though at first he seems ready for everything, human decency prevails, even with him.
The movie abounds in financial and technical terms and it can get quite heavy at times, but the fact of the matter is it’s not a movie about playing the stock market, it’s about human interactions: a game of chess that is socially vulnerable. The crashes in the stock market are not caused by an ill-created system, but by the “players” that are too confident in themselves.
All in all, I enjoyed it. The director delivered an impeccably entertaining, well made, well acted, movie. If I think it could have been better? Of course! I was most disappointed by the ending which, in my opinion, kind of ruined the whole thing by being too nice and happy-ever-after-ish. I was also not a big fan of the fact that they gave Carey Mulligan, one of my favorite “fresh faces”, too weak of a role for such a strong and talented actress. Bu you can’t have them all, can you?