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Following a lengthy prison term, Gordon Gekko Michael Douglas finds himself on the outside looking in at a world he once commanded. Hoping to repair his relationship with his daughter, Winnie Carey Mulligan, Gekko forges an alliance with her fiancé, Jake Shia LaBeouf. But Winnie and Jake learn the hard way that Gekko is still a master manipulator who will stop at nothing to reclaim his rightful place at the top of Wall Street.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps has the compelling backdrop of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, features Michael Douglas returning to one of the defining roles of his career, stars two charismatic young actors Shia LaBeouf, Transformers, and Carey Mulligan, An Education and some wily old hands Susan Sarandon, Frank Langella, and Eli Wallach--so why is the movie such a dud? For one thing, director Oliver Stone doesn't bother to genuinely explore what caused the stock-market crash of 2008; instead, the movie's plot revolves around melodramatic backroom machinations and financial revenge, none of which has any real emotional heft. For another, Stone is possibly the most obvious director of all time. When the characters are talking about financial bubbles, the movie has shots of children in the park blowing bubbles; when the market crashes, the movie cuts to cascading dominoes--Stone beats every metaphor into submission, and if the audience feels bludgeoned at the same time, well, that's just too bad. Add to that portentous dialogue like "He's a monkey dancing on a razorblade," incoherent references to sub-prime mortgages and other financial technobabble, and a woefully mismatched soundtrack by David Byrne and Brian Eno, and the result is muddled, sluggish, and confusing. It's too bad; Douglas is as charmingly reptilian as ever. Also featuring a pointless cameo by Charlie Sheen, star of the original Wall Street. --Bret Fetzer