Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf
It’s been 23 years since Oliver Stone and star Michael Douglas crystallised the mores and attitude of a generation in one of the most memorable characters of the 80’s – Gordon Gekko. As a mercenary trader in 1987’s Wall Street, Gekko was a force of nature, earning the actor an Academy Award and elevating a story about insider training to an entertaining morality tale.
Money Never Sleeps ostensibly follows young Jake Moore (LaBeouf) as he tries to get his big break on the stock exchange, while also dating Winnie (Carey Mulligan) – who just so happens to be Gekko’s estranged father. When the shamed ex trader meets Jake, he uses it as an opportunity to try to mend the split with Winnie while Jake’s success catches the eye of financial superstar Bretton James (Josh Brolin).
It’s an overly complicated story that lacks the focus to satisfy any of its myriad threads, leaving us with an irritating film that seems to want to be about family relationships but can’t help pontificating about who to blame for the crash. Stone’s direction is dull and stylistic choices (like having computer displays smeared across the image) seem amateurish. The messy story skims over characters too quickly for them to make an impression – Mulligan is a weepy cipher while Brolin has no idea whether he’s supposed to be a one note villain or charismatic and seductive so instead does neither. LaBeouf is the star but he’s far too young to convince, leaving Michael Douglas with the best role but even he is far from memorable. Money may never sleep but, by the time of the indulgent and cringe worthy Charlie Sheen cameo, you might