Jake (LaBeouf) is a rising-star broker working for a Wall Street veteran (Langella). His girlfriend Winnie (Mulligan) is the estranged daughter of the legendary Gordon Gekko (Douglas), who recently completed his prison term for insider trading. But Jake's idea to reunite Winnie and her dad takes a turn when they begin a kind of teacher-student relationship. Jake then takes a job for an archrival investor (Brolin) to orchestrate his downfall. But this is 2008 and banks are starting to collapse around them. And maybe Gekko is up to his old tricks.
There's an awful lot of financial dialog here and whether it holds water is anyone's guess. After about three scenes it just sounds like blah-blah-blah, and yet the screenwriters actually create a sense of drama from this impenetrable gobbledygook. We may not have a clue what's happening, but we know it's not good. Much more interesting is the personal melodrama involving various parents and children, mentors and proteges, and of course Jake and Winnie.
All of this provides a series of meaty scenes for the cast, with Douglas merrily chomping through the scenery at every turn. He's terrific on screen, likeable and untrustworthy at the same time. LaBeouf holds the film together quite well in the central role, with the fine Mulligan providing solid emotional resonance along the way. And Brolin is slick and intimidating as the smiling villain of the piece.
This is Stone's boldest, liveliest film in years, with gleaming surfaces barely obscuring the flickering consciences. Yes, it takes a broad swipe at ostentatiously wealthy bankers who make their fortune by robbing from the poorest people in the country. And also from the government in the form of unrestricted bailouts. Through all of this, Stone keeps the plot moving briskly and holds our interest even when things bog down in money-speak. But the most telling part is that only the interpersonal drama really engages us.
Run time: 133 mins
In Theaters: Friday 24th September 2010
Box Office USA: $52.5M
Box Office Worldwide: $134.7M
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Edward R. Pressman Film, Dune Entertainment III, Dune Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 55%
Fresh: 121 Rotten: 100
IMDB: 6.3 / 10
Director: Oliver Stone
Screenwriter: Allan Loeb, Stephen Schiff
Starring: Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, Shia LaBeouf as Jacob Moore, Josh Brolin as Bretton James, Carey Mulligan as Winnie Gekko, Frank Langella as Lewis Zabel, Susan Sarandon as Sylvia Moore, Eli Wallach as Julie Steinhardt, Vanessa Ferlito as Audrey, Jason Clarke as Jack Schwietzer, Alexander Wraith as Jake's friend at club, John Bedford Lloyd as Bill Clark, Anna Kuchma as Office Blogger, Julianne Michelle as Natasha, Keith Middlebrook as Clark Wildman, Chuck Pfeiffer as Chuckie, Charlie Sheen as Bud Fox, Natalie Morales as Churchill Schwartz Trader, Sebastian Sozzi as Diego