Why can’t directors figure out the sequel?
There’s just something about movie sequels that make them so difficult to actually succeed in outperforming or at least match the original. Some are immune to this curse, but most sequels have fallen prey to it for me.
Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” doesn’t set itself apart from the pack.
The original “Wall Street,” released in 1987, starred Michael Douglas as a ruthless Wall Street raider named Gordon Gekko who is eventually put in prison for insider trading.
In “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” Gekko, played by a much older Michael Douglas, has finally been released and is focused on renewing his relationship with his daughter, Winnie, played by a hysterical Carey Mulligan who’s part mainly consists of crying in almost every scene she’s in.
The movie mainly focuses on the efforts of Jacob Moore, an ambitious, young trader played by Shia LaBeouf, who seeks to wed Gekko’s daughter and to avenge the death of his former Wall Street mentor.
Just from the caliber of actors and the story synopsis, you’d assume that “Money Never Sleeps” would deliver extremely impressive performances. However, the quality of acting was both the greatest accomplishment and most crushing disappointment of the movie.
Michael Douglas gave the best performance in “Money Never Sleeps,” complete with long-winded speeches and in your face one-liners. And although Shia LaBeouf will always be Louis Stephens from Disney Channel’s “Even Stevens” to me, he suited the portrayal of an overly-ambitious Wall Street trader well.
But for all this acting talent, this should have been a better movie. The characters just weren’t that likeable. I simply couldn’t empathize with either LaBoeuf or Mulligan’s characters without more background information, and the plot seemed to drag on at times.
A major bore of “Money Never Sleeps” was the barrage of business jargon. Although the overall pace of the movie kept the audience awake, the constant references to ticker names and bank names detracted from the overall excitement.
However, despite being a bit predictable, there are a couple of twists within the movie that are fantastic, demonstrating great writing.
Ultimately, the biggest reason to see “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” is for nostalgia. The first “Wall Street” encapsulated the excess of 1980’s greed in a special way. If you have fond memories of that film, “Money Never Sleeps” is worth a rental, but otherwise, you don’t need to waste your time.