Directed by Oliver Stone. Starring Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Josh Brolin,Frank Langella
(B)The only reason I can see that this movie is rated PG-13 is because anyone without a college education in finance will need a tutor to fully understand all the Wall Street mumbo-jumbo. In fact, there is absolutely no sexual content, violence or language that would warrant such a rating and the sexual chemistry between Shia LaBeouf and Carey Mulligan in non-existent. However, Michael Douglas shines throughout and draws in the viewer. He also has the most chemistry with each of the other actors that share his scenes. He brings the entire movie to life. Another performance that needs to be mentioned is that of Frank Langella. He stood out for me as a supporting actor. I guess I wish that Frank Langella and Michael Douglas were in every scene, but they were never in a scene together. The other performances were adequate at best. Shia LaBeouf’s relationship with Carey Mulligan lacked passion.
(G) In fact, there seemed to be a lull, each time the love-interest took over the screen. This dull relationship almost ruined the subplot motivation for Shia’s character to act, which is so essential in character development. I was not convinced that he really loved Carey enough to go after the big bankers at his own financial peril.
(B) All in all, I’m glad I saw this film. I recommend it, if only for the main performance. Michael gets five binoculars. The rest of the movie I can only give three.
(G) I was very impressed with Oliver Stone’s handling of the world financial crisis. There was one scene where MD (AKA Gecko) rattled off several acronyms and initials and just when the viewer was about to glaze over, Douglas pointed out that the whole subject was beyond EVERYONE’S understanding. It put the bailouts and the bank closures and the Madoff scandal and the government’s inability to make a clear case for reform in perspective. This film was also more human and more hopeful than many of Oliver Stone’s previous accomplishments, in that the bad guys do (at least sometimes) get punished and those who do good get rewarded. Ultimately the character who we believe is most evil, Michael Douglas’s Gekko, ends up experiencing the most subtle yet profound transformation, responding to the same motivations that average Americans can relate to such as love of family and saving the planet. Because of this entertaining handling of delicate and often confusing subject matter, I have to rate this film much higher than Barbara, but I’ve always been a sucker for a good conspiracy film and think Stone (who makes a few cameos in this one) is one of our top filmmakers. Definitely this one will be Oscar nominated and will probably earn Michael Douglas the ultimate actor’s prize. Four Binocs for me, which is an average Bifocal Score of 3 and ½.