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Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps


Stars: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin, Susan Sarandon, Eli Wallach, Frank Langella, Austin Pendleton, Vanessa Ferlito, John Bedford Lloyd, Sylvia Miles, Charlie Sheen

Director: Oliver Stone

'Money's the bitch who sleeps with one eye open and is still there in the morning.' So says Gordon Gekko (Douglas) out of jail after eight years (and five years previously in court) for insider trading. He seems older, more mellow and wiser but, like a chameleon, this Gekko proves to have many shades.

His path is soon to cross that of aggressive young trader Jacob Moore (LaBeouf) who's about to become engaged to Gekko's estranged daughter Winnie (Mulligan). While raising funds for a fusion energy scheme he believes in, Jacob is horrified to see the firm of his mentor (Langella) driven to the wall, and Lawrence to suicide, by the below-the-belt tactics of rival banker Brett (Brolin).

Gekko recognises Brett for the unscrupulous shark he is; takes one to know one. 'You stop telling lies about me.' he tells Brett at a function, 'and I'll stop telling the truth about you.'

Jacob engineers Brett's bank into a $120million loss and finds himself hired by Brett on the strength of it.

There are twists and turns to follow, but Gekko's final conciliatory gesture is reminiscent of Tony Blair's offer of millions to the British Legion from his royalties; easy to do once you have it.

The ins and outs of trading shenanigans will lose many audiences, and make the film ever so slightly dull, in spite of solid across-the-board performances from Douglas, LaBeouf, Mulligan, Brolin, Langella and especially nonagenarian Wallach as Brett's ancient boss. Only Sarandon, as Jacob's mother, seems overwrought.

It's a good-enough drama, but a little underwhelming. Its impact - despite being made by the same director, and the immediacy of its subject (financial meltdowns) - is nowhere near that of the original.

David Quinlan

USA 2010. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
133 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 02 Oct 2010