Photo of Wall Street.
The new Wall Street movie is really worth seeing. CC by Sbazzone/Wikimedia Commons

When iconic films get remade or have a sequel produced, the release is often awaited with a sense of dread and anticipation. The buzz concerning the second “Wall Street” movie has just such an air. The film, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” has been hotly anticipated. The stock market crash in the 1980s was the inspiration for the first film. Michael Douglas is back as Gordon Gekko in the sequel, which takes place in the midst of the real estate crash of 2008. Each film is about the perils of high finance and investment in the wake of financial disasters of successive generations.

The new ‘Wall Street’

The real estate crisis of 2008 is the setting for the second film, as the stock market crash of the 1980s was the setting of the first. Gordon Gekko, the character Michael Douglas plays, went to jail after the first film ended, and the second film opens with his release from prison. Gordon Gekko is an iconic character who garnered generations of fans and an Oscar for Michael Douglas. Gekko, earning a living by giving lectures to students, is enlisted by his estranged daughter’s fiancé, played by Shia LaBeouf, to bring about a corrupt hedge fund managers’ ruin. The movie, erroneously referred to as “Wall Street 2,” is supposed to be a story of redemption.

The actual Wall Street

People who work on Wall Street are aware that it is just a movie. A post in the Wall Street Journal by Martin Fridson opines that the film captured popular outrage, but that it ignores actual causes of the 2008 crash. On the ABC website, a corporate lawyer who works on Wall Street said that the film is great entertainment, but little more than that. Hollywood takes license with historical events, which is not exactly a secret. Many events in history that were actually very complex were bent for the sake of sensation. Oliver Stone is no stranger to this kind of criticism, and Wall Street heavyweights that were technical advisers lamented his liberal use of license over portraying the complexities of actual life.

Madoff and Lehman spoiled the bushel

There is some truth in the cliché that a bad apple ruins a bunch. Many on Wall Street work perfectly ethically and unbelievably hard. If “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” was about those people, though, it wouldn’t sell many tickets.

Sources

ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/films-taking-wall-street/story?id=11712654&page=3

Wall Street Journal: http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2010/09/24/a-wall-street-veteran-on-wall-street-2/

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