HOLLYWOOD—Actor Michael Douglas attended the premiere of “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” which is the sequel to his Oscar-winning film “Wall Street.” Although all eyes were on Michael, he was unable to give interviews due to the chemotherapy he’s undergoing for throat cancer. However, his spirits seemed high and he received many well wishes from his peers and admirers. Though the Oscar-winner was quiet on the red carpet, he was far from silent on the big screen when the film was shown. Michael is on his way to yet another Oscar-nomination as Gordon Gekko, the greedy Wall Street warrior, who in this sequel is released from prison after insider trading the last time around.
In addition to the intriguing storyline that works so well for this film, Josh Brolin as Bretton James is also excellent in the role. Michael Douglas’s character wastes no time in returning to the seedy-side of the business and is only kept in check to a certain extent by his daughter’s boyfriend, Jake Moore, played by Shia LaBeouf. LaBeouf is sensational in the film and plays a character that is torn between greed and doing the right thing. The reason he’s pulled into greed is due to Gordon Gekko, but what keeps him on the straight and narrow is Gekko’s daughter, Winnie, who is played by actress Carey Mulligan. Mulligan’s character doesn’t want to have anything to do with her disgraced father when he’s released from prison, but Jake can’t hide from destiny.
Director Oliver Stone chooses a safer, rather than gritty, storytelling-style, and the film goes on a bit long. However, Michael Douglas and Shia LaBeouf are awe-inspiring as actors who seem to know how to stretch the bounds of drama. Both men will surely get Academy voters’ attention in the next couple of months for pushing the boundaries of acting. Mulligan could almost be drab in such a one-note type role of the good girl who continues to beg her boyfriend to stay away from her devious father, but instead she makes choices that make your heart break for her. Louis also tries to make difference. The washed up former Wall Street titan is shown in a dark light in this sequel.
Susan Sarandon and Frank Langella round out the star-studded and talented cast. Both are great in their roles as Lewis and Jake’s mother, respectively. The one problem with the storyline is that Oliver Stone tries to tell a bit too much in two hours and also gets preachy; however, it doesn’t dim the great acting of the film’s stars. It’s fascinating to see a dim looking Gekko walk out of prison, only to become exciting and even sophisticated after going back to work. The ending wasn’t spectacular, but the acting makes up for it.
“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” receives four stars out of five from this reviewer. The film opened on Friday, September 24.