Tim Arango‘s 9.8 N.Y. Times story about Oliver Stone beginning work on Wall Street 2 is a bit of a nod and a gloss-over. The return of excess, return of Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas ), Shia Lebeouf blah blah. The ethos of Stone’s original 1987 film having been celebrated and embraced. I’ve heard all this and then some.
As N.Y. Times A.O. Scott said in a video essay a few months ago, “While Wall Street was intended as a cautionary tale, it has since turned into — i.e., become regarded as — one of the most enjoyable and effective advertisements for capitalism ever made.”
Stone to Arango: “I can’t tell you how many young people have come up to me in these years and said, ‘I went to Wall Street because of that movie.” Which echo, of course, Douglas telling Michael Cieiply in a May 2007 piece that “he wouldn’t mind if he never had ‘one more drunken Wall Street broker come up to me and say, ‘You’re the man!’
A couple of years ago I wondered if Wall Street 2/Money Never Sleeps was going to be something different or familiar.
The familiar, I wrote, “would be another tale about a twentysomething money-hungry guy (a) gaining entry to the world of high finance, (b) learning the ropes, making big bucks and getting a little drunk on the juice of it all, and (c) eventually going too far, getting busted and crashing into a hole of shame and disrepute.
Last June Nikki Finke reported the following synopsis
“Shia is a young Wall Street trader who’s engaged to be married to Gekko’s estranged daughter. Shia wants to be a major player, but his mentor unexpectedly kills himself, and Shia thinks a stock-shorting worldwide hedge fund manager is responsible. Shia seeks revenge on this villain, to be played by No Country For Old Men Supporting Actor Oscar-winner Javier Bardem.
“So Shia goes to Gordon saying, ‘I need your help’, and makes a Faustian deal with Gekko who in return wants Shia’s help getting back with the daughter (Carey Mulligan). From then on, it’s ‘antagonism’ for everyone.”
None of this is interesting. You know what’s interesting? This.