Movie Review: Wall Street

This movie caught my eye because of the financial associations. I’ve never really liked Shia Lebeouf, but I figured why not….

The Good

Shia Lebeouf doesn’t act like Shia Lebeouf. In most of his movies, he comes across like a caffeinated gnat. This one, not so much. I actually really liked him and his role.

The story is interesting if you are big into Wall Street matters and the jargon. If you don’t understand that, you’re going to dislike this movie. The film makes no allowance for educating you either, so either you come in knowing it or you drown trying to understand.

The Bad

Like I mentioned, if you don’t care for or understand the financial markets, you’re going to get lost. There is one scene in particular where you get a glance at a balance sheet, and if you can’t read and interpret that information quickly, you will miss a crucial part of the film. I had to explain to Courtney several concepts like margins, short and long positions, and so on.

As far as an accurate telling of the market collapse… not so much. There are some loose comparisons, but overall it is pretty much a different story.

You come away from the film truly hating Wall Street and anyone involved in it. You also feel a strong distrust of corporations (especially investment banks), the Fed (probably accurate), and the integrity of the system. Add to that the fact that most of the major characters treat the rules and ethics that govern the integrity of our system with flagrant disregard, and you can’t help but want to pull all your accounts and stuff your cash in the mattress.

Oh, and without saying too much, the ending was awful and totally unbelievable.

Conclusion

Two f-words, some other language, no sex….

I actually liked Shia Lebeouf. That has to count for something. Michael Douglas did well enough. The girl (I don’t know her name) was enjoyable as well.

The two story lines are of comparable quality and enjoyment, though if you do not understand the markets (again), you won’t enjoy the film overall.

If you’re a market geek, like I am, I’d give it 3 stars.

If you’re not, maybe 1.5 stars. At the most.

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2 Responses to Movie Review: Wall Street

  1. Sarah L. says:

    Oh, that guy has a real name? I guess I’ll stop calling him “That kid from Holes”.

  2. Travis says:

    I LOVED the ending- until the final scene- it just tied up too many loose ends all at once.
    I think Shia is good when he has a good script and a good director- and not Michael Bay. The girl is Carey Mulligan-she was nominated for an Oscar last year for the film An Education. I thought she was amazing in this- especially the scene at the dinner table where she is with Douglas for the first time. She only has two lines or so of dialogue but doesnt eed more because she says it all with her face.
    Unfortunately, I am sure that there were many banks and businesses just like this with the flagrant disregard for the rules.
    I thought the film gave just enough background to help you out if you are not totally familiar with the jargon and the way high finance works- but it gives you the info quickly and keeps moving, not giving the audience time to digest it if they can’t follow along.
    The title of the film is officially- Wall Street Money Never Sleeps- to differentiate it from the original Wall Street from 1987. I was surprised to see that you watched the old R Rated film, until I discovered you hadn’t. 🙂
    I agree with the 3 star rating- except for the ending. And I am just pretending the final scene doesn’t exist. It smacks of too much studio interference.

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