In ‘Money Never Sleeps’ greed is a legal tradeGordon Gekko, the archetypal villain of iconic 1980s movie “Wall Street” has a new mantra: greed is not just good, it’s legal and it’s everywhere.
But his words, and the sequel “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” which was released last Thursday at theaters nationwide in Korea, is unlikely to strike the same chord with securities traders and bankers that made Gekko a cult hero and the epitome of unabashed, 1980s financial excess, industry experts say.
When Wall Street hit cinemas in 1987, the stock market had suffered a massive crash and Americans were angry. The film showed how bankers bought companies, stripped their assets, destroyed proud U.S. businesses and left countless blue-collar workers standing in unemployment lines. Director Oliver Stone may be taking on Wall Street again, but in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial meltdown, which drew universal ire from politicians and a steady stream of scandals - from Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which once embodied 1980s excesses - bankers are not worried about Stone’s new film.
“Wall Street has been dragged through the mud in the last year or so. It has been scapegoated,” said Igor Kirman, a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, a major Wall Street law firm. “There is nothing that Oliver Stone is going to say .?.?. in this movie that our president has not said himself. It’s not going to be a huge punch against Wall Street.”
The movie saw its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May and was met with mixed reviews. Since then, Stone said, he spent three weeks doing some extra editing.
Michael Douglas is back as ruthless corporate raider Gordon Gekko, but this time the major-money central banks and those who run them taking are taking the blame for financial chicanery.
Central to the film’s plot is a love relationship between Gekko’s daughter (Carey Mulligan), and a young Wall Street trader named Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf), whose aggressive business dealings land him in trouble.
“Someone reminded me I once said, ‘Greed is good,’ now it seems it is legal, because everybody is drinking the same Kool-Aid,” Gekko says at the beginning of the sequel as he leaves prison after serving time for insider trading.
Stone, a long-time critic of unbridled capitalism whose father was a stockbroker, told reporters that while the film was timely, bubbles in the financial cycle are here to stay.
“Love and trust and greed and betrayal; they go on and .?.?. they are equivalent to the ’80s and they are equivalent now,” he said.
Some reviewers said the film will draw interest from fans of the original, but others, including veteran indieWire critic Todd McCarthy, said the script was poorly pasted together and did not stir emotions against the greed of corporate America.