I’m trying to work out why I liked this film: it does so many things wrong.
Gordon Gekko is released from prison and promptly commences a book tour for his Is Greed Good?, warning the world of the impending financial crisis. So has Gordon reformed? Well, his daughter doesn’t think so – and he does, after all, still wear his hair in that revolting slicked-back style, like he’s just been sprayed with a high-pressure oil hose.
Shia LaBeouf (“Brother, can you spare a vowel?”) plays a young trader, Jake, who’s also Gekko’s prospective son-in-law. But Jake’s mentor has just topped himself after someone deliberately scuppered his company, and Jake wants to find out who’s responsible. He enlists the help of Gekko, who has his own scores to settle, to find out.
Sounds good, so what’s wrong with it? Admittedly I saw an unfinished print, and a bad sound mix made the dialogue, already full of confusing financial jargon, even more impenetrable. But is Gekko the protagonist, or Jake? The stakes aren’t very high – Jake’s life is never in danger, he’s never facing prison, he’s a millionaire.
Despite all that, the film delivers certain nostalgic pleasures (apart from a nauseating cameo by Charlie Sheen). But if you’d like to be moved or enlightened, Capitalism: A Love Story is a far better option. 7/10