Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wall Street

Directed by Oliver Stone.
1987. Rated R, 126 minutes.
Michael Douglas
Charlie Sheen
Daryl Hannah
John C. McGinley
Hal Holbrook
James Karen
Martin Sheen
Tamara Tunie

Struggling young stock broker Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) earns his way under the wing of big-time power player Gordon Gekko (Douglas). The younger Sheen holds his own as the eager kid who’s suddenly figured out how to make unbelievable loads of money. His real life dad, Martin Sheen, also gives a wonderful performance as his fictional dad.

The Sheen family’s work aside, this is Michael Douglas’ movie. He is absolutely magnetic and dominates every scene in which he appears. His now iconic “Greed is Good” speech serves as an exclamation point behind his name. Despite the fact he has no superpowers and doesn’t kill anyone, Gekko is one of the all-time great movie villains. His scariness is derived from the fact that we know for a fact there are Gordon Gekko’s in the real world who’ve made fortunes putting us regular people out of work because it’s profitable for them. Not one of us has ever waged intergalactic warfare against an evil Jedi or saved our girlfriend from a mad scientist with giant mechanical arms. Lots of us have worked for companies that were bought out or went through mergers and felt uneasy about our futures. This gives Gekko power beyond many other bad guys.

A sidenote: This has mostly held up pretty good over the years, but dates itself when Gekko is talking on a cell phone. It’s about the size of a microwave. Of course, this applies to the computers in this movie, as well. These things aren’t mere dinosaurs. They’re single-cell organisms at the dawn of time. Still, nevermind all this. Wall Street is the crown-jewel of Michael Douglas’ career and one of Oliver Stone’s very best.

MY SCORE: 10/10

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