Directed by: Oliver Stone
Premise: Bud (Charlie Sheen), a Wall Street stockbroker, is taken under the wing of stock player Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) and faces ethical dilemmas.
What Works: The film is a reworking of the Faust tale, as Bud sells his integrity to Gekko in exchange for advancement. The story is smart and fast; Oliver Stone’s camera is very kinetic and he uses it to capture the energy and stress of the Wall Street subculture. All of the acting is very strong but the best moments are between Bud and Gekko; Douglas’ performance is the epitome of 1980s bourgeoisie Wall Street greed.
What Doesn’t: The film might confuse some viewers who do not have an understanding of trade laws and the final meeting between Bud and Gekko seems forced and a little out of character.
DVD extras: Commentary by Oliver Stone and a documentary.
Bottom Line: Wall Street is an important film and one of Oliver Stone’s best. It is a period piece about the 1980s but it is also a film about temptation, greed, and integrity and these themes have lasting value.
Episode: #47 (April 10, 2005)