It’s not a bad thing in itself that when Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps finished I couldn’t help wondering what was Stone’s point of making the movie. It’s a question that goes either way. But when I consider my reasons for asking it and examine the general blandness of the sequel to 1988’s Wall Street it’s almost definitely a bad thing. One of the issues with this it, though not as grave as some of the others it has, is that it has no significant purpose as a legitimate “sequel”. Knowledge of the original might increase understanding, but only marginally. Tonally they bear little resemblance and if I was to judge Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps with its predecessor as a drawing board the grade might end up being
even more dreadful, essentially it’s not so much a sequel but a spin-off.
The film is about Jacob an aspiring investment banker intent on making his mark in the business, he’s in a relationship with Winnie whose father is the infamous Gordon Gekko. I like Shia LeBoeuf and maybe I’m still disillusioned but I like to think that he’ll be of good use sometime in the near future. He doesn’t fare well here. I’m not sure if he’s lacking the talent for the role, or if Stone’s writing is just that disjointed. Whatever it is, there’s little reason for us to have any faith in him – the ostensible leading man. It has nothing to do with the general douchiness of his character, villains can be protagonists, but Jacob/Shia has no charisma – it’s a wonder a two hour film could be crafted around him – but consider how that two hour film ended up, it’s probably not that big of a wonder why. They aren’t exactly filled with riveting moments. There’s a scene, a little over half way through the film, there’s an emotional confrontation of sorts between Carey Mulligan and Michael Douglas. The two do fairly well, but it’s nothing especial. What’s most at fault is Loeb's screenplay and Stone's direction which really seems hackneyed at the best of times. It doesn’t allow for character building instead going for the most generic of plot points and resulting in a film that’s devoid of any real emotion. We’re treated to a death within the first thirty minutes, but we can’t be blamed for feeling nothing at it, or at it the imminent threats meted out to our main characters. There’s little that identifies them as real persons.
It’s this sort of emotionless way that pervades the entire film culminating in a generally bland experience. Sure, when the credits role as we see two characters reconcile I smiled – not because I cared about them, but after two hours of drudgery at least someone came out of looking better for it.
(NOTE: Excuse the slight weirdness of the review, I posted a real one earlier in the day...or I thought I did, maybe blogger swallowed it.)