Wall Street

Wall Street
Director: Oliver Stone 
Release Date: 11th December  1987
Rating: 15
20th Century Fox

The stock market in America is not something I know too much about. You sell or buy and can make a lot of money out of, that’s about everything I know. I mean, I’m probably never going to deal with this sort of thing and it’s in America so it isn’t odd that I don’t know too much about it all. Maybe if I stuck with International Business at university I would have learnt a thing or two. Or maybe listened in high school. Did they teach that there? Wall Street is meant to be a decent picture though so I thought I’d give it a whirl. Ides of March was great without me knowing too much about the ins and outs of presidential elections, maybe this would embrace me in the same way. 

Wall Street is about one broker, Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), who manages to make it big with big Wall Street player Gordan Gecko (Michael Douglas). The two don’t quite hit it off at first, but once Gecko gets Bud to go snooping around for insider information on upcoming deals, everything becomes peachy. Money is rolling in and Bud is on his way to the top with the gorgeous Darien Taylor (Daryl Hannah) at his side. Always pushing for new deals and more money becomes the point of his life with no end in sight, but with a potential deal for an airline company his father works at things get a little heated. Will Bud be absorbed by greed as Gecko is or break out and do what’s right? These are the questions posed and make up the threat of the film. It’s certainly interesting even without in-depth knowledge on Wall Street.

It doesn’t make for a particularly intense film at first though. It’s hard to get too excited at the big stock dealing scenes, just lots of retro computers displaying numbers I can make little sense of, so at these points I would just nod my head and wait for a character to mention the outcome. It’s how it works in real life of course, would be difficult to not show the computer display scenes. Also the story moves at a rather leisurely pace. Bud’s snooping is exciting initially, but it isn’t till the final act when we sense any threat because of his dodgy dealings. I would have liked more interaction between Bud and his girlfriend along with the secrets she hides, but these are pushed aside for deal after deal. Again it makes sense to show Bud progressing with his dealings, but it is at the expense of these sub plots fizzling away.

Despite it all though, the climax to Wall Street is exciting and it was nice to see Charlie Sheen look a little like he does now after his breakdown. When you get Charlie looking like that, you know shit has gone down and this finale is as engaging as an action movie finale. No explosions, just numbers and deals making for an intense and interesting look at the risks you have to take to make it big. And that’s without asking that one important question ; is it worth it?

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