JT Film Review

87 – Wall Street (1986)

Wall Street REVIEW

4.5/5 stars

Director – Oliver Stone

Cast – Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Michael Sheen, Daryll Hannah, Terence Stamp, Hal Holbrook

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 Wall Street, Oliver Stone’s follow-up to his enormously succesful Platoon, plots the rise and fall of a young man who tries to get ahead in the financial world of the mid 1980’s. Charlie Sheen stars as the young man, his father Michael Douglas appears as his on-screen dad, and Michael Douglas co-stars as the infamous character Gordan Gekko.

Plot-wise, Gordon Gecko is an unscrupulous business man who will cut throats and stab backs to get what he wants. Due to this he has, of course, become a major player in American business, with influence and power that young Sheen can only dream of. Sheen apprentices himself to Gekko, who trains him in the ways of Wall Street. After finding himself involved in a highly unethical business trade involving an airline his father works for, Sheen is forced to make a decision regarding his lifestyle and the consequences it brings about to himself and others.

Charlie Sheen is very good as the likable but naive young man who, while trying to please his father and make a name for himself, is caught up in circumstances that go increasingly over his head. He projects the perfect mix of earnestness and natural pluck that the role needs. Michael Douglas as the sly, double-dealing Gordon Gekko, is wonderful, and in fact received an Academy Award for the role.

Wall Street thankfully avoids the preachiness that such a film could easily fall into, and instead mainly positions itself as a coming-of-age film. It still works as a moral and financial  lesson, but as I said, does not bludgeon us with it. Its financial dealings, which provide the plot of the film, are complicated and beyond the knowledge of the average viewer, but Stone presents them slowly, easing us into the world of Wall Street. Even when there are a few deals that are a bit too complicated for  us, we can always watch the characters. How they react to the goings-on gives us all the information we need.

Wall Street is a drama, but almost qualifies as a thriller. A slow, potboiler of a thriller, to be sure, but a thriller all the same. Gordon Gekko is a wonderful villain, and the various supporting cast is excellent. Daryll Hannah, as a young married woman Sheen wants to seduce, is perhaps a bit… dull  I guess would be the right word. She sounds high through the whole movie, and its very distracting. She is really the only downside to an excellent cast that includes Martin Sheen, Terrence Stamp, John C. McGinley, Hal Holbrook.

OVERALL

Wall Street is an excellent movie that would draw in any audience and sweep them towards its gripping and thoughtful conclusion. It is a smart movie, but it does not pander. For my money it is better than Stone’s more famous movie, shot directly before this, Platoon. For a moving and brainy coming-of-age story, look no further.

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TRAILER

“Wall Street” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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May 4, 2010 - Posted by | 4.5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Drama, Year - 1980-1989 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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