“Gordon Gekko is back”. The statement stands true for both the realities in and out the film where it was uttered. Wall Street II Money Never Sleeps starring once again Michael Douglass in the vest of the excessively greedy and unscrupulous but charismatic millionaire Gordon Gekko will heat the theaters April 23rd. It isn’t surprising that Oliver Stone decided to make a sequel of a film that deeply questions base of the Wall Street value system in a time when the entire country, maybe the entire globe is doing so.
Just like in the first one Gordon Gekko is not alone. Peter Sheen is replaced by promising star Shia LaBoeuf to be the representation of ambitious youth that almost being unaware enters a pact with the devil of greed without boundaries. The drama acquires another level of intimacy in this sequel since Shia is not just a dedicated apprentice, but happens to be the fiancée of Gordon’s estranged daughter played by Carey Mulligan. And yet the added intensity in the personal relationships aspect of the movie does not take away from the sequel its depth in analyzing the moral values of the main characters as they concern society at large.
The 1987 movie gave this quasi-tragic hero personified in Gordon Gekko the chance to explain his system of values and not remain misunderstood. When asked to speak in his own defense in a courtroom where he was being trialed for white collar charges he said “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good…Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind”. Very Ayn Rand, very capitalistic. It is indeed one that is easy to understand and support. No matter what his crimes are, we are almost forced to understand Gekko to some extent. From understanding comes identification with the character, and this is what made the 1987 Wall Street something close to a Greek tragedy. The audience is most of the time torn, not really knowing what to think or what to wish for the end of the movie, partly admiring, partly despising the antihero; partly identifying with him and partly seeing him as the other kind. Oliver Stone takes on its shoulders the responsibility to be the judge of an entire system of values, the one in which Wall Street functions, the one behind the richest 1% of the US. In 1987 Stone sends Gekko to prison.
…But in 2008 (that’s when the story of the sequel being released in April starts) he decides to bring him back. The exclusive long preview that Nielsen Media and E-Works are testing with viewers in different theaters around the country, among those Fenway Regal 13, leads you to think that the verdict given in the 1987 movie was not final. The tension is still there like a judgment was never passed and as an audience we are invited to think it over one more time: Is greed good? One more time Gekko is invited to give a speech, not in a courtroom this time, but in a school auditorium: “Someone reminded me I once said: ‘Greed is good.’ Now it seems it’s legal.” He is giving a speech for the inauguration of his own book “Is greed good?”. It seems like Oliver Stone is dubious about, or not fully satisfied with the answer that the first movie gave to the question. Will the second one torture our minds in testing our inner balances one more time to ultimately just arrive to the same answer the first movie gave us? Or has Oliver Stone changed his mind on the question? Wait and see…
XOXO… G.G (Gordon Gekko, not Gossip Girl in this case)