Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 20, 2010
Another fascinating film about the endurance of the money game and the pleasure for some to be in the speculation battle. Douglas delivers again an amazing performance as the greedy shark Gordon Gekko while the dialogue is still sharp in this compelling story whose sole misstep is a weak, unnecessary conflict in the final act.
Super Reviewer
½ January 19, 2013
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is Oliver Stone's sequel to his 1987 film Wall Street. I quite enjoyed the original, and I thought it was a surprising effort from Oliver Stone. With this follow-up, He crafts a decent film that could have been much better, and in the end, it leaves a lot to be desired. This sequel is somewhat entertaining, but it could have been much better. Luckily for Stone, he assembles a colorful cast of actors that keeps this so-so sequel afloat. The film had so much potential in being so much more, but it ends up falling flat. As a whole, it's decent, but it lacks the power of the original. Michael Douglas is very good here as usual, and his screen presence is really what kept me involved in the film. Wall Street Money Never Sleeps is not a good sequel, but it is somewhat entertaining, just don't expect anything truly remarkable. Oliver Stone seems to navigate sketchy territory with this one, and it feels like he is trying too hard at outdoing his original film. The idea of creating a sequel to Wall Street was interesting, but the end result is somewhat lacking even though it's entertaining to some degree. I still think it could have been better, and the film's potential is there, but is underdeveloped. Michael Douglas is the best part about the film, however Shia LaBeouf lacks in screen presence and he's not convincing in his performance. Oliver Stone focuses his sequel on the recent Crash, but he doesn't elaborate on it, considering that it's one of the key aspects of the time where the story is set. Fans of the first may be disappointed with this one and with good reason. This is a decent film, and nothing more. The plot could have been rewritten and more detailed, but it just fails to truly be entertaining and interesting in the long run.
Super Reviewer
½ March 24, 2012
Shia is only thing that makes it interesting.
Super Reviewer
July 3, 2010
Brilliant plot that looks at Wall Street traders in the brink of the global banking crisis. A young trader's (Shia) mentor dies and he seeks revenge on the corporations that brought his company down. He teams up with his future father-in-law and disgraced trader Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) who is just released from prison, after serving 8 years for insider trading. Great cast - Shia, Michael, Susan, Carey and Josh. Michael who won an Oscar for his original role, still commands your attention on screen as charming and humorous as always. Shia though still young and fresh faced has transformed from his earlier teen roles into a solid and mature performance. Beautiful setting in New York, the playground of the rich and powerful. There's a cameo by Charlie Sheen who was in the original movie.
Super Reviewer
July 17, 2010
A totally new take on the same course material as the original, this film is rooted in the present's economic climate, which is why it most likely exists. As something beleaguering greed and the economic crises of the current administration and the history of man to boot, this film doesn't feel completely kindred to the original. It possesses only the character of Gordon Gekko and the theme of money in American culture, but is not an extension of a further storyline. Instead it's a commentary on the 2008 economic downturn based on stock brokers leveraging mortgages and interest rates in CDCs for the average American. It's a lot of backtalk and shop talk between the different firms, the shady deals behind bailouts and what our system is truly made of. This would all have been more pleasurable, of course, if this didn't so mirror the former film in the way of dialogue and the same general outcomes for the "villain" of the story. Much stranger is the fact that Gekko is the only character from the original who puts in more than an appearance. He is a working character amongst whatever plot Shia LaBeouf follows; though why they put so much of this film on this one uneven character's shoulders I'll never know. It's slow, painfully so, and sadly the payoff at the ending is based on the human condition. Gekko throughout is painted as a reformed man who speaks of his former greed with modest embarrassment instead of his former envy. Just watching such a complex man from the first film bow down and become the lapdog to Shia LaBeouf was difficult to watch. Yes everything is building up, but to what? What is the true message to our watching audience? We already know greed is bad, made true in the first film, and this one doesn't directly shine a light on the true baddies of our generation except in passing, so really we're just watching the downfall of Josh Brolin's character (as a new kind of Gekko) without any care for his fate because he isn't built up like Gekko was in the original. Haphazard, intricate, and hard to follow or swallow, this nuanced drama had me happy I don't poke my nose into this terribly dangerous world.
Super Reviewer
July 19, 2011
So much is right about this film, and yet the contrived ending where the main characters just happen to be at the right place, at the right time, leaves you feeling cheated.

Oliver Stone had a really tight little screenplay going until the last 15 or 20 minutes where the theme seems to switch from Wall Street and all the arrogance and greed, to the betrayal and supposed redemption of Gordon Gekko.

The camera work throughout is excellent, and you really get the feeling of power during all the boardroom scenes. Also, the ending collage that plays during the final credits is a work of art in itself. The acting for the most part is top shelf, especially from Josh Brolin as the main bad guy, and Shia LeBeouf, who surprised me in the main role. Of course Michael Douglas is Da Man as Gekko, delivering his lines with such smoothness, yet hinting at something deeper behind the lines. In an almost cameo, there is a wonderfully done bit by Susan Surandon as LeBeouf's mom.

Carey Mulligan, as the female lead has the thankless task of being the whining, not very interesting daughter of Gekko, who utters some very unfortunate lines, especially when assessing blame for her brother's drug addiction and eventual death.

I loved the first half of this film, as the collapse of one of the investment firm totally mirrored the whole Lehman Bros. mess... it was like watching that part of Too Big To Fail all over again, only this time the guy playing the head of, ahem, Lehman Bros. comes off much more sympathetic instead of the totally arrogant prick he was portrayed as in TBTF. There is a nice feel to the film and perhaps it is Stone's message, that everything is for sale, and that the art of the deal is more important than the deal itself. I forget who says it, but to paraphrase, it ain't about the money, it's about the juice that the deal makes you feel.

In conclusion, the film, coming before TBTF, is a nice expose into what went down in 2008, and could have been a classic like All The President's Men a generation before, but the misstep of those last scenes seemed to come from a different film entirely, as if the studio execs forced Stone to write in a happy ending. In fact the entire relationship between Mulligan and not only her father, but LeBeouf as well, seemed just a bit too pat, allowing Stone to get on his soapbox about the effects of unbridled greed. Frankly, the story would have been better served without the interplay of those relationships.
Super Reviewer
June 30, 2011
I quite like this movie. The story is completely new, and I kind of wish they had stuck with the initial idea of simply calling this movie Money Never Sleeps. It tells its own completely free-standing story, with a whole bunch of new characters and a story that's similar in tone but totally fresh, and as firmly rooted in 2008 as the original was in 1987. Even Gordon Gecko is almost a new character: while he still has the keen eye, cynical core and callously shrewd nature, he is stripped of all the cash and clout that would have made him the magnate he was in the first movie. In that role is Josh Brolin as Bretton James, who is a parallel and equally formidable villain. I love how he and Gecko kind of orbit each other (like Pluto and Cairon) looking for ways to destroy each other. The financial meltdown, ripped from the headlines, serves as both the backdrop for the story, but also serves as external organic pressure that shows what these characters are really made of. It's fascinating to me to see which ones shatter and which ones turn into diamonds. And which ones simply remove themselves from the vice. Gecko is again a captivating person: dogs are much more vicious when they're desperate, and he seems to have an inflatable heart that he can grow on command as the situation dictates. Shia LaBoeuf does an admirable job here as well, but this really isn't his movie.
Super Reviewer
January 15, 2011
I didn't expect this movie to be this well -- The plot was working great, with brilliant cinematography (in the city of New York) and amazing casts. All of them was truly believable. I love to see Carey Mulligan with Shia LaBeouf. They somehow managed to give an outstanding chemistry. Michael Douglas, Josh Brolin and Susan Sarandon also give their best. A movie that giving us the knowledge but also able to entertain us. Thanks to Oliver Stone. Great insight to the lives of Wall Street traders and global economy.
Super Reviewer
April 4, 2011
Oliver Stone seems to spend the entire run time talking about the 08' crash, and ends up saying very little about it.
Super Reviewer
March 12, 2011
Much better than the first as it was "dumbed down" for people who don't understand Wall Street stuff. Te cinematography and framing was good but the story was cheesy and predictable. Good accent from Mulligan though.
Super Reviewer
February 18, 2011
This film was so bad it doesn't even deserve a review.

Grade: D
Super Reviewer
March 25, 2010
After the passage of a little over two decades, Gordon Gekko returns to the big screen. This sequel to the sharp and definitive look at 1980s yuppie culture is not as strong as that film, but is still an enjoyable and well made follow up showing the results of what happens when people believe greed to be a good thing.

This film really feels like it wants to preach and be as relevant and meaningful as the first film. While it does do a good job at commenting on the issues and being relevant for its time, it's not wuite the film it could be. I agree with Roger Ebert. This needed to be a lot angrier and bitter. Instead of being a savage indictment of the recent economic world it goes more for the human drama route.

I do like that Gordon and the world have changed, because I think it is necessary, espeically for the character. Some of the old Gordon does return, but in a way more fitting to the times. Douglas is great, and returns to his Oscar winnning role with ease. He brigns the qualtities that made that character iconic, but does it in a way that brings more depth and humanity. LaBeouf somewhat redeems himself after the back to back pannings of two other sequels he's been apart of in the last few years, and he does a good job at having to go toe to toe with such heavy hitters. Mulligan manages to be more than just an occupier of space, which is a good thing, but I think they could have done more with the character, or given her just a bit more oomph. The rest of the cast are also quite nice. Brolin is good at playing a modern Gordon, and Sarandon has fun with an accent, but for me, I really enjoyed Langella and Wallach the best. Neither has extensive screentime, but each play some vital roles, and do their jobs quite well.

Perhaps like Gordon, Stone has gotten softer with age. This is not a bad film, but it could have had a better stroy and script. Maybe Stone should have done the writing. Also, as I mentioned earlier, their could have been a lot more anger and bitterness. The family stuff is fine, maybe a bit too Hollywood, but the opportunity to make another iconic film just wasn't realized. Give this one a chance. Despite its flaws (including being a tad too long and draggy), this is smart and entertaining filmmaking with a good message.
Super Reviewer
July 24, 2010
Some movies and characters should just be left alone! This movie played to Hollywood even to the "happy ending" cheese!
Super Reviewer
February 6, 2011
This completely unnecessary sequel is essentially a thesis-driven film. Set during the subprime mortgage crisis, which is at least partially responsible for our current economic state, Gordon Gekko, fresh out of jail, teams up with Jacob Moore, his estranged daughter's fiance, to financially ruin Bretton James, a shill who, within the film, helps orchestrate the government bailouts. Throughout the film, Moore and Gekko trade - dirt on James for a chance to reconnect with Gekko's daughter.
Within the context of the plot, I was never sure why Winnie Gekko was even with Moore in the first place. Shia LaBeouf and Carey Mulligan don't exactly light up the screen with chemistry, and considering Winnie's ire toward the money-centric Wall Street life, it seems like a strained courtship to say the least. But the film continues, unimpeded by the fact that the most central relationship remains undeveloped and unclear. And what does it continue to? Moore treating his fiancee like a commodity to be dealt. This is uncharacteristically bad character development in an Oliver Stone film.
Also, the film's thesis basically posits that the markets' boom and bust cycles will inevitably continue, and in the most ludicrous voice over ever, Moore states that human evolution is the result of a boom and bust. But the idea that our economy will continue to falsely swell before collapsing under its own weight isn't just pessimistic; it's fatalistic. Whereas the original Wall Street implicitly criticized Gekko and his "Greed is good" mantra, this film seems to say, "Greed isn't just good; it's essential." It doesn't critique the lesser of our natures; it celebrates them.
Overall, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps may provide a theme that a critic can sink his/her teeth into, but it ultimately tastes quite sour.
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2010
"You tell them for me, babe, Gordon Gekko is back."

It's more than a decade since the events of the first movie, and notorious Wall Street kingpin Gordon Gekko is out of jail, broke, and apparently reformed. He even seems to be the voice of reason and sanity, amidst a sea of greed that dwarfs even his own. He comes back into the lives of his estranged daughter and her young, idealistic investor boyfriend, but does a man like him deserve a second chance?

I actually preferred Money Never Sleeps to the original Wall Street. There was less financial jargon and dense investor speak being thrown around, the main characters were easier to identify with, and the plot that was at least partially focused on human drama that I could relate too, instead of only numbers, stock quotes, and indices. Both movies are clearly products of their times, as well, and Money Never Sleeps deals with things and events that I'm familiar with in a way that the original (which came out when I was only two years old) does not.

Not to say the sequel is perfect, though. Or anywhere close to it. It tends to be overly sentimental, at times (especially the ending). We're talking soap opera levels of cheesiness. And Stone uses it as a vehicle to push his point of view across with all the subtlety of a hammer to the kneecap. This is Stone, though, so that's basically expected. My biggest criticism is how little depth there are to the characters. None of them are really anything more than a collection of one or two broad qualities (naive, earnest, amoral, caring, deceitful, vengeful, greedy, etc.), which is a real shame when you have truly talented actors involved like Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan, and Frank Langella. They do a good job with what they're given, but it's not a lot.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if a lot of people favored the first movie over this one, as they are quite different in tone. But, if Wall Street left you a bit cold, as it did me, then maybe the sequel will be more to your liking. If you loved the first...well, your impression may not be as favorable as mine was.
Super Reviewer
½ December 22, 2009
Honestly, this is hands down one of the most uninteresting, pointless, and uninspired things I've seen in a long, long time. The whole style of the thing reminded me of something, but I cannot put a finger to what it is... Also, this is bit irrelevant, but atmopherically, it feels like it belongs in the 90's. I know the year 2008 is constantly stressed, but everything else screamed 90s! - the music, effects, cinematography, everything. Even beyond the fact the it's boring as hell, I cannot help but wonder why it was made... I haven't seen the original, but it doesn't appear that there was any material that needed to be continued - especially when this is taking place, what, twenty years after the fact? So, in a nutshell, I thought the film sucked - then again, with a sub-header like 'Money Never Sleeps'.... Ah, well, enough complaining. I'm sure there are plenty of people who will find it entertaining; just can't say that I am one of them.
Super Reviewer
February 12, 2010
Oliver Stone's sequel is a needlessly complicated bore that is inferior to the original in every way possible. The convoluted plot concerns young proprietary trader, Jake Moore who happens to be dating Gordon Gekko's estranged daughter. Jake is out for revenge after his mentor, Louis Zabel, commits suicide as a result of a hostile takeover of his company. But wait, he's also trying to raise money for a fusion research project, which he believes will be an important source of alternative energy in the future. These are just two of the many story threads that the script practically dares the viewer to follow. Compounding the cluttered narrative is frequent use of jargon. Assuming you don't know what a credit derivative is or what a hedge fund does, I suggest studying up on your financial lexicon before watching this film. Surprisingly the movie doesn't have much connection with 1987s Wall Street other than involving Gordon Gekko as part of the cast. He isn't even the main villain. Josh Brolin's character, Bretton James, the man indirectly responsible for Zabel's death, holds that distinction. And if all these weaknesses weren't enough, the action is constantly interrupted by random songs by David Byrne that laughably pop up at the most inopportune times. Numerous subplots, confusing technical terms and extraneous characters. That's Money Never Sleeps in a nutshell.
Super Reviewer
½ January 16, 2011
I don't remember much about the original, and this didn't make me want to go back and revisit it. It's just an okay drama. Shia LaBeouf does a pretty good job, but Michael Douglas just seems like he just showed up and doesn't really care to be there.
Super Reviewer
October 1, 2009
Director, Oliver Stone's best film in ten year's. This is one hell of an awesome film. Michael Douglas is back and better than ever reprising his Oscar winning role with a vengeance. Douglas gives a powerhouse performance, once again bringing his legendary character back to life with amazing velocity and sharing new depth to the character that i would not think they would of taken a chance with. An incredible all-star cast who all deliver top-notch performances. Shia LaBeouf is sensational, the young actor is coming into his own in a different light and delivering. Josh Brolin Is excellent, he always knows how to deliver a compelling performance. Carey Mulligan is wonderful. It's an outstanding and well-executed movie that's better than the original. An electrifying film that delivers loads of suspense and drama. An intelligent, powerful, wickedly smart and tremendously entertaining business thriller. It's spellbinding, compelling memorizing and exhilarating.
Super Reviewer
February 26, 2010
By trying to modernize what we knew of Wall Street, the sequel ends up looking like Sex and the City for men.

All of Olivier Stone's movies always make me feel like Stone wants to go wild and try new things, but there, even if we sense he knows what he's talking about, the images show us he's trying too damn hard.

Remains very nice to see Michael Douglas in his iconic role, plus Shia Labeouf who is an excellent and promising actor. Carey Mulligan, you are so cute, and Eli Wallach, you are one ugly legend.
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