Starring: Michael Douglas, Director: Oliver Stone
Michael Douglas won an Oscar for perfectly embodying the Reagan-era credo that "greed is good." As a Donald Trump-like Wall Street raider aptly named Gordon Gecko (for his reptilian ability to attack corporate targets and swallow them whole), Douglas found a role tailor-made to his skill in portraying heartless men who've sacrificed humanity to power. He's a slick, seductive role model for the young ambitious Wall Street broker played by Charlie Sheen, who falls into Gecko's sphere of influence and instantly succumbs to the allure of risky deals and generous payoffs. With such perks as a high-rise apartment and women who love men for their money, Charlie's like a worm on Gecko's hook, blind to the corporate maneuvering that puts him at odds with his own father (played by Sheen's offscreen father, Martin). With his usual lack of subtlety, writer-director Oliver Stone drew from the brokering experience of his own father to tell this Faustian tale for the "me" decade, but the movie's sledgehammer style is undeniably effective. A cautionary warning that Stone delivers on highly entertaining terms, Wall Street grabs your attention while questioning the corrupted values of a system that worships profit at the cost of one's soul. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
Young hotshot who's going nowhere in a N. Y. brokerage firm manages to buttonhole the highest roller on Wall Street (Douglas, in an Oscar-winning performance) and win his confidence--but he sells his soul, so to speak, in return for admittance to that high-powered world of wheeling and dealing. Modern-day morality tale by cowriter-director Stone (whose father was a broker, and to whom the film is dedicated) is short on subtlety but completely absorbing, especially in the wake of the real-life ``insider trading'' scandal of 1986. Stone, Monique Van Vooren, and Liliane Montevecchi can be glimpsed. -- From Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide, 1998.
Movie dedicated to Louis Stone (1910-1985), stockbroker (Oliver Stone's father)
action situated in 1985
cf. Michael Milken and junk bonds
"doing any better would be a sin"
"somebody's got to pay"
salesman, "account executive"; father questions why he didn't become a doctor or lawyer
"no nobility in poverty anymore"
selling his father's company and his soul (BLUE STAR)
lunch with Gekko, raw meat and egg
information as commodity, value of inside information
references to Sun Tzu's The Art of War, 2000-year old Chinese classic discussing philosophy of conflict; "every battle is won before it's ever fought, think about it"
"if you need a friend, get a dog"
"the oldest myth running: love, a fiction created by people for keeping from jumping out of windows"
"it's trench warfare out there"
"what about hard work?"
"where did it get you?"; "wake up pal"; "my father, he worked like an elephant pushing electrical supplies till he dropped dead at 49 of a heart attack and tax bills"
"wake up will you pal, if you're not inside, you're outside"
"you tell me the difference between this guy and thay guy is luck?"
"I am not a destroyer of companies, I am a liberator"
"greed is good, greed is right, greed works, greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit"
"when does it all end?" "how much is enough?"
"it's not a question of enough pal; it's a zero sum game, somebody wins, somebody loses"
"money isn't lost or made, only transferred from one perception to another"; "like magic"
"the illusion has become real"; "capitalism at its finest, the more real it's become, the more desperate they want it"
"I create nothing, I own"
richest 1% owns half the country's wealth, 5 trillion dollars; 1/3 comes from hard work, 2/3 from inheritance, interest, stock and real estate speculation; 90% have no net worth
"you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy"
use of paintings: devil behind the businessman, ghoulish creatures, skull
"one of my gang, Bud Fox"
"two-bit pirate ... you'd sell your own mother to make a deal"
"now considering you brought my mother into it, let's make it 71.50"
buying a company to make it work vs laying off its employees, liquidating it and selling it for parts, raiding the pension fund
Gekko by the ocean, cf. Goethe's Faust
role of sexuality and its relations to money and power
"I never measured a man by the size of his wallet"
connections to, influence of Miller's Death of a Salesman (cf. Happy Loman, Willy Loman, old man being fired, not pulling off his quota)
interior decorator girlfriend (Darien Taylor), fakery and superficiality of her work
"produce something, create instead of living off the buying and selling of others"
| Home |