Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (M)

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Review byMatthew Turner22/09/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 133 mins

Watchable drama enlivened by strong direction and superb performances from an excellent cast, but it's often predictable and struggles under the weight of too much plot, which ultimately drags it out to about 20 minutes longer than it ought to be.

What's it all about?
Directed by Oliver Stone, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is ostensibly a sequel to Stone's 1987 thriller, though it's really less of a sequel and more of another film with Gordon Gekko in it. Shia LaBeouf plays young Wall Street trader Jacob Moore, who's devastated when his elderly mentor Louis Zabel (Frank Langella) commits suicide as the result of a familiar sounding financial crisis triggered, in part, by the shady dealings of rival hedge fund manager Bretton James (Josh Brolin).

Seeking revenge on James, Jacob falls under the spell of Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), who has reinvented himself as a financial guru following his release from jail seven years previously. However, in return for his help, Gekko asks Jacob to help him reconnect with his daughter Minnie (Carey Mulligan), who's both Jacob's fianceé and a crusading internet journalist who wants nothing to do with her estranged father.

The Good
Shia LaBeouf delivers a solid, likeable performance that anchors the film, sparking palpable chemistry with each of his co-stars. Mulligan is good too, though her scenes are mostly limited to whining or crying and there's strong support from Brolin (who's so obviously evil he's practically twirling a moustache), Langella and Susan Sarandon (as Jacob's property developing mother who gets in over her head), though the less said about Charlie Sheen's cameo, the better.

Stone's direction is assured throughout, managing to generate excitement or tension even when the scenes mostly consist of financial gobbledygook, although he does throw in a motorbike chase later on just to liven things up a bit.

The Bad
That said, the overstuffed, plot heavy screenplay eventually drags and the film is a good 20 minutes longer than it needs to be as a result. Similarly, the script takes several predictable turns (the main twist is completely stripped of dramatic impact because it's so guessable) and Gekko's transformation from evil bastard to twinkly old scamp is less than convincing.

On top of that, the intrusive soundtrack (composed of specially written David Byrne songs) is frequently distracting and doesn't quite work.

Worth seeing?
The performances and direction in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps ensure that this remains watchable, but for a script so stuffed with plot, it's strange that so little actually happens.

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Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (M)
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Content updated: 18/02/2020 17:07

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