Again, Oliver Stone makes the movie equivalent of one of those glossy fashion editions – kinda fun to page through, but really nothing there. But it is glossy.
Stone sets this drama at the onset of the 2008 financial collapse, but really doesn’t have anything much to say about it, other than Josh Brolin’s character is an especially bad man.
Here’s what really ticks me off (modest SPOILER in this paragraph only). The screenplay keeps raising the issue of moral hazard (whether to bail out people from the consequences of risks that they knew they were taking). Yet, at the end, the two flawed main characters each get exactly what they wanted at the beginning of the film despite making risky or evil choices throughout. The movie’s payoff (things will turn out OK no matter how badly or foolishly you behave) is exactly opposite of the movie’s sermonette.
Michael Douglas is excellent in another delicious turn as Gordon Gekko, but he isn’t the main character. The protagonist is played by Shia LaBeouf. Will someone explain to me why Shia LaBeouf seems to be a movie star? I just can’t figure it out.
Once again, Carey Mulligan is good as the moral center of the story. Unfortunately, the power of her performance is undermined by the improbable and inconsistent happy ending.
Another problem is Stone’s use of nuclear fusion as an example of renewable energy that would save the planet if the bad money guys would only invest. There are very promising alternatives in renewable energy, but fusion ain’t one of them. It’s an insult to folks who are serious about being Green.