WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS Review

As someone who knows little to nothing about the stock market and all that jazz that goes along with it my biggest concern when seeing a film like 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' is simply not being able to follow what the hell all this money mumbo jumbo is the characters are talking about. I handled things pretty well the first go around and the same is true for this rather prestigious sequel. Though Gekko seems to be an afterthought in the second film, Douglas is still the most intriguing thing about the film. Having seen him recently in the direct-to-dvd film 'Solitary Man' and now this, it is apparent how good he is at playing this slimy unforgiving man that takes nothing as his own fault and will or maybe cannot stop what he truly knows destroys him. Or so we think. The interesting thing about this sequel is the perspective it puts on things. Within viewing the first movie as a stand alone film it is an intriguing story in a specific time, when the credits roll we may speculate but we don't really care what may happen to these characters as they age and what their life might bring about once they are too old to acknowledge the benefit of money without everything else in one's life. Within the second film, Stone is able to deliver a message that isn't simply told straightforward, like many of its characters-it is crooked. We are being given a lesson in doing what is important in life, something we have all heard time and time again, but framing it within the constructs of wall street and this legacy we all know as well as family dynamics and all kinds of things is certainly a grand way of delivering it. And to his credit, Stone delivers it well. This is a sequel that takes few of its cues from its predecessor. The pacing, the point, the entire plot differs from the first. And the plot is air tight-Shia LaBeouf (who must have a goal of getting into sequels of movies that were made when he was a baby) is getting married to Gekko's daughter. He is also working for a bank run by Frank Langella who is wonderful in his short time here. Things happen causing the bank to fold and Shia to lose his job. Things get sticky, Gekko's out of jail, Shia wants revenge, Gekko can help...but of course he wants leverage and so Shia must lie to his fiance so she will talk to her father who she now hates and blames for numerous things. All this is well executed and Josh Brolin is especially nasty as the man who ruined the bank and the man who ran it for which Shia's character worked. Not to give away the whole plot, the remainder is surely satisfying though near the end the film drags a bit and the conclusion is much to nicely cleaned up for it to be any kind of believable. Shia does his thing, surviving on his little quirks that always bring his performance above whatever type he is playing for. Here he never tries to hard to be the slick wall street broker the previews make him out to be and his love interest here and in real life is the lovely Carey Mulligan who frankly anchors the film emotionally and if it were not for her the movie would simply have no heart. Susan Sarandon shows up for a few scenes but her role should have easily been cut in the editing room. The tone gets it right and the camera work is quite impressive, while the soundtrack is just odd at points. Overall though, I found the film to be impressive, leaving a mark where follow-ups usually don't. It is certainly worth seeing, if not for the accomplishment in Stone's career that it is at least for the Charlie Sheen cameo. It doesn't get much better than that.