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Movie Review: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Alternate Title: Buy Low, Sell High

Story: Buy low, sell high is pretty much all I know about finance but I do know a good movie when I see one and this latest by director Oliver Stone is first rate. It is 23 years since Mr Stone brought us Wall Street and Michael Douglas received his Oscar as the now iconic Gordon Gekko whose statement greed is good had become the bumper sticker behavior of recent pre-bubble times.

This sequel finds Gordon Gekko coming out of an eight year prison sentence for insider trading and other white collar misdeeds. He is older and yet the wiser part of that phrase is replaced by still pissed. Revenge is on his mind and how he goes about getting retribution is at the heart of the film.

That said, while I enjoy a revenge film as much as anyone else, I liked the manner in which Oliver Stone presents his view of how this latest economic tsunami happened, who to blame and how to proceed forward. In easy to understand language, graphics and terrific camera angles, we learn simply, who did what to whom and how we all got screwed. The size of the egos and personal grudges makes for a riveting movie goers experience.

The acting is terrific, the pace, fast moving (except for the storyline about Gekko and his estranged daughter) and I highly recommend this film to all.

The film was written by Allan Loeb and Stephen Schiff and was based on characters created by Stanley Weiser and Mr. Stone.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJ7bkoMYD80

Acting: Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko was terrific.Shia LaBeouf as Jake Moore was fine although I am not sure what the fuss is about him. Josh Brolin as the evil Bretton James was great. Carey Mulligan as daughter Winnie Gekko, has had better roles. The entire supporting cast was great including: Eli Wallach (Julie Steinhardt), Susan Sarandon (Sylvia Moore), Frank Langella (Louis Zabel) and Vanessa Ferlito (Audrey).

Trivia: After dropping out of Yale University, Oliver Stone became a soldier in the Vietnam War. His films have mostly centered on a male protagonist (the biggest exceptions are "Heaven & Earth" and "Natural Born Killers"). The issue of family and fatherhood are frequently involved in his films. In JFK (1991), Garrison must juggle fatherhood with his job. In Alexander (2004), Alexander is torn between his parents. In Natural Born Killers (1994), both the main characters were abused by their fathers. In Platoon (1986) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989), the two main characters cite that they went to Vietnam to live up to their fathers fighting in the Second World War.

Predilection: I am partial to films that were set in NYC and totally biased towards films that had scenes shot at the Central Park Zoo (where I have had a association since 1990).

Critters: A scene between Gordon Gekko and Jake Moore takes place in the Central Garden at the Central Park Zoo. In the background we see the beautiful sea lions, April and Scooter and we can also see zoo keepers Rob and Celia on sea lion island working with the animals.

Blatant Product Placement: Heineken, Apple, Shun Lee restaurant, Ducati and many more.

Soundtrack: I am a sucker for any film that uses music by David Bryne.

Opening Titles: After a sequence about Gekko leaving prison and terrific visual of NYC and financial charts with credits.

Visual Art: Director of photography, Rodrigo Prieto does a sensational job in making NYC a major player in this high stakes drama.

Theater Audience: Empty on a Wednesday morning.

Weather: NYC looks sensational in this film with perfect weather.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: 0

Predictability Level: Moderate to high.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Perhaps

Big Screen or Rental: Go for the big screen.

Length: A bit long at two hours and 10 minutes.