The sequel to an awesome film from the 80s with the catchphrase Greed is Good, said by Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas (of Catherine Zeta Jones fame). We see the aftermath of Mr. Gekko's downfall, his time repaid to the state and he emerges like a phoenix from the ashes, reborn, as a bear, you know the type. they're the type who say every indicator indicates a catastrophe, and every sign is pointing down. He tells the world, that well, the world is going to end, and you're Fraked.
What does this mean for you, dear viewer? Nothing much really. The sequel, Money Never Sleeps, reminds me of a quainter time, a less frantic time, where people loved each other because of some idealistic moral compass, when Greed actually was good and not world ending. And above all else, it reminded me of a time when movies were great because they had a story to tell. If I had to distill it down into a nucleus, this movie is probably trying to be a love story. But of what we never really know, of money? Of capitalism? Of the girl? Of something we can never attain? And to simply be blunt, it's not a great movie. Why? It tried to be a bad movie. The special effects looked like it was lifted from the 80s. But y'know slightly slicker. The plot, was beyond predictable. There was literally a point in the movie when I said in my head – "He is going to be F***ed" and just 3 minutes later, he was f***ed. And not even in any spectacular way, but via phonecall from a hapless scientist who never received the money. I mean really. Did the viewer think it was going to be any different?
The two lead characters, played by Carey Mulligan and Shia Le Boeuf were… interesting. They definitely weren't great and at one point I actually wondered if I believed that they were really in love. But I like to give them credit and say that they were actually trying to be realistic, i.e. this is how a real person would probably act if faced with the world ending financial crisis, y'know not well. Carey's acting is passable and it's really fun watching her emote her way to an expression, and Shia comes from the Legolas school of acting, where it's feels as though he's got to tell his face to say the words "F*** You" and then he'll say the words "F*** You". But all in all, it makes for an … interesting performance, certainly not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but you can't help but feel that you need a bit more acting to believe it. They were too real, to make for good entertainment.
The star, by miles, though was Michael Douglas, the years have not slowed him down, and he still has the cut throat look of a shark out to eat your limbs for lunch. His performance, will remain forever in my heart as one of the finest by a??villain??ever. But you cannot help but feel that he is slightly let down by his fellow cast members as well as though he had to prove that he needed to finish the story of this great character. Frank Langella, as the vaguely manic boss who is backstabbed by his old colleague is amazing but??gratuitous??as the only reason why Shia's character needs to stay angry throughout the film, and at some point you kind of forget he ever existed which is a shame as his performance, as with any Langella performance was sublime. And finally, that fogey old man? Who whistles? He's a little scene stealer every time he shows up.
The cinematography and the editing though were hit and miss, and many a time I was wondering why on earth did they pick this angle to shoot this scene, or felt generally distracted with the choice of wider shots that distract your attention from the action actually happening on the screen. As I said, it feels as if this film is of a different time, and maybe just maybe so is the choice of direction and story line. I liked the film, and I loved Gordon Gekko, but do I want to rewatch this film? Not really. Do I recommend you run out and go watch it? Not really, despite it's redeeming qualities, the overall package made for a predictable and slightly boring ride, which is quite a feat, considering how ridiculous the 2008 crash actually is when you think about it.