Film Review: "Wall Street" (1987)

Posted by prla1983 on March 26, 2006 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

It seems to me there's a certain type of photographic quality in most of the 80s movies that sets them apart from any other era. I'm not arguing it's either better or worse than others, it just feels different and very distinctive. In this light, "Wall Street" reminded me vividly of "No Way Out" for instance - which happens to be from 1987 as well - and several De Palma films. Don't ask me why. It just does.

Useless considerations apart, "Wall Street", directed by always controversial Oliver Stone, pictures the almighty frenzy in corridors of high finance where no one has a chance to fade away. They always burn out, in a snap of fingers. And bigger they are, harder they fall, right?

The story in itself is nothing new or previously unseen, featuring a bright young "sport", Bud Fox (played by Charlie Sheen) who happens to have a lot of potential but is not exactly happy with his stock broker life. He wants more, and hotshot Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) is another broker who embodies everything he wants to become - powerful, vicious, influential and a sure winner. By sheer force of will and unprecedented persistence, Bud sneaks into Gekko's office and tries to prove his value to him. From here on the bulk of the movie shows us the average - but rather well executed in this particular instance - story of the young protegé who rises to the top at breakneck speed until, unexpectedly, something shatters his bond to the master. Something that hits home and makes Bud question his beliefs. What this is and how it plays out is the very heart of the movie, so I'll let that for you to find out if you didn't see it yet.

All the acting is quite superb, especially the relationship between Gekko and Fox. Martin Sheen - who is Charlie Sheen's father both in real life and on the screen - is particularly compelling as a man who believes in hard work, not selling out and not letting others - and yourself - down. He reminds me of Donald Sutherland simply because he also seems to have that ability to outshine everyone whenever he's on screen a couple of minutes at a time.

If you like high finance intrigue, big guys pulling the strings on each other, twists and turns, then "Wall Street" is probably essential. And it will probably give you an excuse to read Sun Tzu's "The Art of War".

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