Thursday, May 27, 2010
Nog On Wall Street
Perhaps Stone's upcoming Wall Street sequel is nothing more than a calculated business effort, cobbled together because the director needs a hit and saw a chance to revive his most famous character, Gordon Gecko. But it seems to me like an interesting opportunity to revive a fascinating film figure during economic circumstances very different than the booming 80's stock market. At any rate, I figured it was a good time to revisit the original, which holds up pretty well 20+ years down the line. Essentially the film is a rags-to-riches tale of Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), an enterprising young broker who finds himself taken under the wing of Michael Douglas' seductive and ruthless Gecko and his "Greed is good" worldview. Gecko praises the "illusion" of the market, at one point drawing a parallel to the art world: paintings become defined by what someone says they are worth as much as by their inherent value. And Fox is initially more than happy to let his life be "designed" by Gecko, even quite literally (Fox meets an interior decorator played by Darryl Hannah at a Gecko function, and she tricks out Fox's new penthouse for him). Of course, the film builds to Fox's moral quandary as he finds himself torn between father-figure Gecko's corruption and the old-fashioned business principles of his old man (nicely played by Sheen's real life father Martin). Stone isn't known for subtlety, and this film is obviously a none-too-subtle indictment of 80's corporate greed that holds up as well as it does largely due to the wonderfully entertaining Gecko. Douglas' hypnotic delivery of long speeches truly makes you feel the dangerous lure of power and money, and I'll happily give Stone my ticket price when the new film appears.