Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps DVD review
|REVIEWS - DVD REVIEWS|
Shia LaBeouf gives Michael Douglas a hand at revisiting the golden age of the yuppie from a wiser perspective...
Greed, in all of its forms, has marked the upward surge of mankind.
Two movies came around in 1987 to skewer the era’s avarice from two drastically different angles: the unfailingly quotable, rollicking good-time satire of Robocop and the unfortunately quotable, cheerless cautionary finger-wagging of Wall Street. In the first, greed is punished by a sad cyborg blowing the greedy, suited villain out a window while in the second, a surreptitious recording peters to an ambiguous ending where the bad guy is a non-participant.
In my never-ending quest to watch everything I’m “supposed” to see, I sometimes need a little push; or more accurately, an excuse. Since I’d never seen Wall Street, I jumped at the chance to screen its seemingly unnecessary sequel, the oft-delayed Money Never Sleeps, which I now know is cleverly named after a throwaway line from the original.
Aside from a backstory I figured was necessary to appreciate Money, I wanted to see the performance that netted Michael Douglas an Oscar and fuelled business schools’ coffers for the next twenty-odd years. What I got for my trouble was an anticlimactic, “Hey, it’s That Guy/Girl!”-strewn movie with hair on the lens and spotty sound, not to mention listless performances and female “leads” whose SAG cards should’ve been revoked.
Aside from cameo-spotting and pre-fame bit parts, it was good for the space-age technology on display: brick-phones, handheld scanners and three green-text computers on one desk informing us that these peoples’ means are far beyond that of mere mortals. The sequel...
Was good for nothing.
I’m not kidding - avoid this movie at all costs. Except for Carey Mulligan’s performance (which seems to have been cut and pasted from some other, better movie), there is nothing of value here. The heavy-handed but stylish transitions of the original give way to overwhelmingly complex, yet utterly meaningless uses of every method in the book for moving from one scene to the next, sometimes all at once, and like a cherry on the whipped-shit topping of a turd cake, there was even a lone iris-in.
When the cinematography wasn’t a complete mess, it was shot like a travelogue of moneyed New York, but not in a lifestyle-porn, Entourage kind of way - like an actual promo reel to lure tourists, as if such a thing were necessary. The absurd, overkinetic camerawork colludes with the floating text and computer displays projected on faces to form a wholly chaotic and uninviting mise en scène when we’re not being treated to representations of the government as the Illuminati, complete with low lighting around a giant table, surrounded by the masters of the universe.
You’d think that a movie cut like the editor had a wolverine in his pants and they wouldn’t let him out of the bay until he finished the flick wouldn’t be so unbearably boring, but there it is. I completely spaced out on what got the plot moving, or even what it was. As far as I can tell, there’s this guy, Jake (Side-a TheBeef) who's dating a do-gooder news blogger (Mulligan), who happens to be Gekko’s daughter, whom I suppose was conceived after the original. Then there’s some thinly-veiled referencing to Goldman Sachs and a lot of talk about money and revenge and time and... I just couldn’t follow it because I didn’t care.
For all the muddled political messages and almost impenetrable lingo that weave and eddy to form Money Never Sleeps' meandering and almost incoherent plot, if there were just characters I could sympathize with, I could have seen the movie with much less suffering. TheBeef is a total blank, and Oliver Stone tries to make a character of Gekko where none existed previously; but it doesn’t make any difference, since the movie’s not really about him or our ostensible villain, played by Josh Brolin, who’s really doing a Travolta on his post-No Country career. First Jonah Hex, now this...
The picture quality was good for a DVD, and the sound quality was much better than the original, which suffered from level dropouts and some horrific Foley and ADR work. Thankfully the extras were slight, involving only a featurette on Gekko and a commentary that I couldn’t bring myself to listen to, as it would have involved seeing the movie again. Do yourself a favor and never watch it. If you saw the original and are curious, just go watch that again. Or watch Robocop, you’ll be better off in the long run.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is released in the US tomorrow.
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