Oliver Stone's 'Wall Street' Hits Pay Dirt

Friday, 08 Oct 2010 09:34 AM

By Jon Friedman

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I don't know about you, but I am delighted to see that Oliver Stone cranked up the Hollywood machine and made "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," the sequel to the 1987 classic "Wall Street."

Stone's alter ego is Gordon Gekko, his vehicle for taking America to task about its obsession with conspicuous consumption — Thorstein Veblen would be choking if he had been around right now. But Stone doesn't much care what philosophers think.

Stone cares about producing a movie that makes a boat load of money, before anything else.

Gekko, ironically, is the ultimate capitalist. He wins.

He understands how to use the financial system to his benefit, how to obtain and disseminate valuable (and confidential) information, how to take advantage of associates with both mentors and proteges.

As Michael Douglas who plays Gekko (brilliantly, once again), says in the sequel, with a trace of a smirk on his lips, I used to say greed is good — now, it appears, it's legal.

When the movie opens, Gekko, like the American capitalist system in the first decade of the new millennium, is broken, damaged, bloodied, and nearly bowed.

He is out of luck and his outlook reflects his doleful spirit. But in a capitalist society, there is always room for someone smart to make a comeback and America, a forgiving nation, does love a juicy, high-profile comeback.

I don't want to spoil the movie for you by betraying too much of the plot in this space. But rest assured, you'll have a good time (if I happened to be a professional, publicity-seeking film reviewer, I'd have written just now, "you'll have a rollicking good time").

The movie is well made, more a triumph of craft this time. The first "Wall Street" was Stone's masterpiece in that he made a personal statement and a highly entertaining flick at the same time.

The best works of art reflect where a society is at. Painters, sculptors, authors, journalists, poets and songwriters tell us about America's state of mind at a given point in history. "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" has that little flair. Go see it. You'll have a rollicking good time.]

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to see his latest column.

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