Monday, 2 November 2009
The great depression of year 2009 is officially over as billions of dollars worth of bailouts and quantitative easing yields the ultimate dividend – carrying the world’s largest economy, the United States, out of recession with a 3.5% growth in GDP between July and September. Italians, Frenchmen, Germans and Japanese citizens have reasons to smile too. Their economies have enjoyed positive growth since mid 2009 leaving the lonely Island of Great Britain as only G7 sinking deeper into recession. Although the signs for 2010 are good, the world economy won’t be healthy until major government debts have been cleared and unemployment reduced – and that can take years, if not a few decades. In the mean time we’ll entertain ourselves with the unexpected but much welcomes sequel to the 1987 classic, Wall Street movie.
Throughout October photographical evidence have emerged confirming the production of the sequel. Officially named 'Wall Street: Money never sleeps', the film is set 20 years from where prequel left off, in the not too past 2007. Like any successful cult movie Wall Street had a very memorable character, Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas who earned himself an Oscar for his provocative performance. Gekko is at the height on the pyramid of diabolical stock market personalities; Old, wise, egocentric and at the peak of his career but in pursuit of success beyond his own dreams and imagination – sort of like the Ponzi scheme extraordinaire Bernard Maddof or Kenneth Lay, who cooked the books at Enron until they boiled over and subsequently brought company of 22,000 employees to a bafflingly epic demise that deeply shook the Dow Jones and Nasdaq stock exchange. Both fraudsters, now serving jail time, have left permanent scars reminding us all that the stock market is a remorseless and cold hearted business.
The professional life of a boardroom baron keen on bending the laws of justice is incomplete without accomplice of a grounded and well mannered protégé. Charlie Sheen acted the role of Bud Fox who saw his innocence and law abiding persona get absorbed by the poisonous greed of Gekko and Wall Street’s short-term money making culture. Very fitting, Bud Fox’s father was played by Martin Sheen who is also Charlie Sheen’s father in real life. Directed by Oliver Stone, the movie delivered sublime dynamic between the actors and painted a glamorous portrait of life in the financial sector. The script was excellent with intriguing dialogues well delivered by Michael Douglas and co-actors. To the satisfaction of Wall Street fans Oliver Stone is in charge of directing the anticipated Wall Street 2:Money never sleeps which has impressive roster of actors by the name of Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Carey Mulligan, Frank Langella and Josh Brolin. Much better actors for a movie in the drama genre are hard to find.
Excluding Carey Mulligan, the average age of the actors stated above is very close to 50. These are actors that are irrelevant to lucrative audience of 15-20 year olds accustom to internet piracy and cannot recall ever recording broadcast on a VHS tape, let alone bought a movie on VHS. Given the pressures of movie to smash box office records, popular actors are instrumental to the financial success of motion pictures. To compliment the top class but rather aged actors there is a need for someone young and contemporary to lead the film – a bit of ying in the yang or wise versa. Disappointing for some, Shia Labeouf has been lined up for the lead role in the successor to the sequel to one of the best films of the 80s. As a rising star, Labeouf has yet to act in a movie remotely close to collecting an Oscar for the performance of its actors. Hollywood is grooming him into an action star to replace the financially demanding Tom Cruise and Will Smith who are past their peaks of stardom. Labeouf’s most recent movie appearances have been in money-spinning but highly animated movies such as Transformers and Indiana Jones which are dominated by fast moving scenes and heart pumping story lines. He has yet to feature a ‘serious’ movie in which the central focus is on his acting, but is now being given the chance in Money never sleeps which will be a platform for the 23 year old to assert himself as a multi-sided actor against some well renowned veterans.
Fashion-wise it is evident in the photographs that the 80s a long gone. The characteristic power dressing advocated by Gekko in the first movie is today only celebrated by baby boomers and private banking advisors in Geneva. Suspenders and blue shirts with white collars have been successes by contemporary slim cut suits and European fashion. Inescapable to any fashion conscious reader is the stylish £325 Gucci loafers fronted by a silver horse-bit and the easily recognisable red/green Gucci stripe. Most of the outfits published so far reflect the man of today who has a strong style consciousness and is unafraid of admitting vanity. Money never sleeps will be one of the few movies capitalising on the disaster of the now recovering financial meltdown that unfolded in Europe and North American in fall 2008. We hate when disaster strikes us but harbour a fascination for reading and finding out about it. Every year cinemas host movies about murder, injustice and apocalyptic natural disasters. Neglected is the deep and dark tragedy of man. Visit the business section in any book shop and you’ll be greeted by an abundance of books about success promoted by their author printed proudly on the front cover with crossed arms and a smug facial express.
Male life is very glorified with high social expectations pushing men into making it on Forbes top 200 richest list, winning an Oscar, a Formula One Championship, becoming a prime minister or mastering science. For many, coping with such career demands is challenging and pushes some into breaking the laws. The recession has shed the lives of some undeserving people. A few traders who lost all their wealth or were about to, decided to take their lives as well as those of their wives and kids because they couldn’t stand the shame of failure. This is a suppressed back alley of stock market aspirations which also include ex-investment bankers sitting behind bars for insider trading. Slated for a April 2010 cinematic release, Money never sleep is likely to teach a few hard lessons on last year’s financial crash but will hopefully paint a lee heroic picture of white collar criminals than its 1987 predecessor did.