Wall Street

"Excellent"

Wall Street Review


Since the initial release of Wall Street, Oliver Stone's giant-sized 1987 fable, it's been said a million times: Greed Is Good. With those three words, Michael Douglas, as uber-corporate raider Gordon Gekko, defined the tone of not just a single movie but perhaps of an entire decade (even though that's a paraphrase of his actual quote).

The phrase, now famous via Douglas's Oscar-winning performance, was initially uttered by Ivan Boesky, the 1980s business biggie who thrived on doing whatever it took to become rich, and paid the price as a result. Director/co-writer Stone, with Douglas at the epicenter, erects an overdone behemoth of a movie that, like Boesky himself, is an ageless -- and, at times, clichéd -- cautionary tale.

But that doesn't mean Wall Street lacks entertainment value. Charlie Sheen, playing the film's protagonist, and Douglas play off one another with the kind of energy and gumption you'd expect from two guys that want to eat the market for lunch on Friday and crap it out by Monday morning.

Sheen (who admits being hungover during shooting) is Bud Fox, a super-hungry everyman who sees Gekko as his financial ticket to ride. As a young nameless buck in the Wall Street trading game, Fox figures that one meeting with Gekko could lead to the type of success that puts his warped hero on the cover of Fortune magazine. Sheen plays Fox as a tenacious puppy dog, tailing Gekko until his time comes... and quickly realizing the steps he'll have to take in order to play the game.

Like Gekko, everything that Oliver Stone does in Wall Street is abundant, almost extreme. Gekko's office is an enormous suite, covered in artwork and design that's nearly offensive in its opulence. Stone repeatedly emphasizes the spoils of tons of disposable income (as if he has to), holding his camera on ridiculous tangible items like a sushi maker, giving you a glimpse of worlds that exist to few. But, like our friend Bud, it's hard for the viewer not to get entranced by all this.

The dialogue, by Stone and co-writer Stanley Weiser (who hasn't contributed to a theatrical release since) is as grand-scale and obvious as the film's visuals. Sheen's Fox flaunts an intense persona that bursts with predictable wannabe business-speak, and Douglas's Gekko practically talks in self-help sound bites, as if he's quoting How to Alienate Friends and Piss Off People. Such bravado-filled lines like "Lunch is for wimps" and "If you need a friend, get a dog" have become modern movie legend in their ridiculous salute to hard work with no heart attached.

Douglas plays the egomaniacal Gekko as sleek and calculated, a symbolic character representing nothing but the power he possesses. It may not be apparent at first viewing, but Douglas portrays Gekko with great skill, turning a transparent icon into a larger-than-life man of predictable, almost mythical actions. The guy's too much of a caricature to glean any depth out of him, so Douglas opts to go to an extreme. Smart move.

As a father figure, Gekko is a failure -- he's clearly interested in Bud solely for his information (another nod to Boesky and the '80s). Even though real Dad, played by papa Martin Sheen, is such a straight-up, hard-working fella, Bud would rather play big. Stone's film, dedicated to his own stockbroker father, is right there with Bud, following its anti-hero to an inevitable future with a giant "The End" over a skyline that dwarfs everyone -- even Gekko himself.



Wall Street

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 126 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th December 1987

Budget: $15M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Fresh: 38 Rotten: 11

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Edward R. Pressman

Starring: as Bud Fox, as Gordon Gekko, as Carl Fox, as Darien Taylor, John C. McGinley as Marvin, as Lou Mannheim, as Kate Gekko, as Sir Larry Wildman, as Roger Barnes, as Chuckie (as Chuck Pfeifer), as Lady Broker, as Carolyn, as Dan, as Lynch, as Harry Salt, Leslie Lyles as Natalie, Faith Geer as Natalie's Assistant, as Charlie, as Dominick, Suzen Murakoshi as Girl in Bed, Dani Klein as Receptionist, François Giroday as Alex, as Stone Livingston, as Woman at '21', as Dolores the Realtor, Annie McEnroe as Muffie Livingston

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

Advertisement
The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Subtitled Salazar's Revenge in the UK, this fifth film in the long-running series never quite...

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.