Sunday, 17 August 2008

No.27 : Wall Street

IMDb Link :

Charlie Sheen stars as Bud Fox, an ambitious Wall Street broker, in this 1987 morality Tale.

Bud is struggling to make ends meet and spends his days cold calling punters to offload stocks. He dreams of working for major player Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) and after a lot of effort he gets his chance. Gekko plays hard and fast with scant regard for the rules and Bud has to put his own concerns aside as he chases the deal.

After a successful hustle at the expense of English corporate raider Sir Larry Wildman (Terence Stamp) Gekko entrusts his protégé with more responsibility. The cash starts flowing and Bud upgrades both his girlfriend and apartment and his moral concerns are put to one side. When some inside information put Blue star Airlines on Gekko’s radar Bud has to decide whether his loyalties lie with the slick braces wearer or with his union leader Dad who works at the airline.

This is a cracker of a film that must be regarded as one of the iconic movies of the 1980’s. The ‘greed is good’ philosophy is expertly assessed with Bud’s new line in materialism taking us in as well as him. The film is eminently quotable with the dialogue crackling along with memorable sound bites piling up like cabs at a rank.

Michael Douglas gives a career best, and Oscar winning, performance as the slick and sleazy Gekko and he is ably assisted by the Sheen family and a great Terence Stamp. You also get James Spader, Hal Holbrook and the always worthy John C. McGinlay for your money.

The best bits are the inside looks of how the market works with a single rumour being followed through the dealing rooms and trading floors as the stock prices yo-yo around. Director Oliver Stone uses, and appears, in some great montages with split screens used to convey the speed and multiple threads of the deals being done.

Gekko is a great character and despite being a total bastard you can’t help but like him. The scene where he tears up the board meeting of Teldar paper is cracking and he talks a lot of sense exposing the fat cats with their expense accounts and benefits.

The film does well not to paint capitalism as a bad thing, with only the excesses and criminal acts frowned upon. The checks and balances of the system are shown to be well placed as they close in on the bad guys in double quick time with all the right people held out to dry. The final sting is well executed but I don’t think Terence Stamp would have got involved so readily especially as the deal was based on blatant insider trading.

‘Wall Street’ is an excellent and informative film that is well acted and paced. Buds rise and fall is chronicled expertly by Stone and the moral message is in no way ambiguous - greed is good, but not that good.

Best Bit : Gordon enlivens the shareholders’ meeting.

‘W’ Score 20/23

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