Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

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Released 27-Jan-2011

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Audio Commentary by Oliver Stone
Featurette-Gordon Gekko Is Back
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 127:33 (Case: 133)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Oliver Stone
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Michael Douglas
Shia LaBeouf
Josh Brolin
Carey Mulligan
Eli Wallach
Susan Sarandon
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Craig Armstrong


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Dutch
French
Smoking Yes, Incidental within the movie
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

“Bulls make money. Bears make money. Pigs? They get slaughtered"

     Twenty years after his high-flying days ended in disgrace and a lengthy jail sentence, former Wall Street banker Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) is a fledging author and public speaker commenting on the pre global financial crisis financial system. His disenfranchised daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan) on the other hand is an ethically aware web author who just happens to be in a relationship with high flying Wall Street banker Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf). Winnie and Jake have lofty aspirations for making a positive contribution to the world - which is somewhat contrary to the career that Jake has chosen. Jake has dreams of promoting the financing of a new form of fusion energy that will potentially meet the world's energy requirements without pollution. His fellow bankers at Keller/Zabel Investments are less convinced and don't support his recommendations. Jake's boss and mentor Louis Zabel (Frank Langella) however recognises the value that Jake brings to the bank and awards him a $1.5 million dollar bonus which Jake reinvests in the firm after buying a half million dollar engagement ring for Winnie. The following day his company's stocks start crashing in a precursor to the financial crisis that is unfolding world-wide. An attempt to bail out the bank is blocked by the US treasury after rival Wall Street player Bretton James (Josh Brolin) argues against a rescue package. James and Zabel have a long standing enmity arising from financial dealings of some eight years earlier, and the demise of Zabel is seen by James as just retribution. The dishonour of losing his bank and fortune prove too much for Zabel to bear and he chooses suicide as the final solution.

     Meanwhile Gordon Gekko is on the speaking circuit promoting his new book and Jake is in the enthusiastic audience. Impressed by what he has heard Jake approaches Gekko to reveal his intentions to marry Winnie. Gordon explains that he has been estranged from Winnie since the suicide of his son Rudy, but Jake could possibly mediate a reconciliation. They agree to collaborate secretly and when Gekko reveals it was James who facilitated the crash of Zabel's bank a plot is hatched to gain revenge and also bring Winnie and her father back together again. With Jake's investment in the Zabel bank worth a fraction of what it was, and his mother's (Susan Sarandon) property portfolio in dire financial distress, the discovery that Winnie has a one hundred million dollar trust fund in Switzerland gives Jake and Gordon an opportunity to reposition themselves out of financial difficulty, help fund the fusion energy research company, and ruin Bretton James at the same time. Can a leopard change its spots however, and can a good cause overcome self-centred greed?

     Twenty years is a long time to wait for a sequel and the excellent Wall Street is a hard movie to follow. Oliver Stone however is a supreme craftsman, and allows plenty of time in recreating the history and character of the original so that the subsequent movie has a firm foundation. Although Wall Street 2 is quite capable of standing on its own I would nevertheless recommend that viewers watch Wall Street first to appreciate the transition from the earlier story to the latter. Douglas as the evil but possibly redeemed Gekko is outstanding in his role with LaBeouf also very effective as the ethically aware banker. LaBeouf perhaps looks a bit young and boyish for the role but I think is convincing enough. The Winnie character becomes irritating after a while with frequent tantrums and tears however Mulligan puts in a worthy effort. Brolin is also very effective as the slimy Bretton James bringing his character a lizard-like quality that makes his potential downfall an anticipated delight. On the downside however I thought the running time at well over two hours was a bit excessive. There were also a couple of plot and character inconsistencies that are less than convincing - for example the failure of Winnie to disclose the fortune in Switzerland because she was planning to donate it all to charity, although she is quite happy to wear a $500,000 engagement ring. Also the ability of Jake to partly bail out his mother even though his investment stocks had just crashed. Nevertheless in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Stone has created a formidable successor to the original, and has left plenty of opportunity for a part three.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video is presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect with anamorphic widescreen. Shot primarily in New York there are lots of vibrant outdoor scenes and indoor trading floor activity. This is a really nice transfer with sharp detail and accurate colours and blacks. The skin tones are perfect with the craggy lines on the face of Douglas all perfectly etched. DVD transfers really don't come much better than this so I can only imagine how a full 1080p Blu-ray transfer would look. There are no film artefacts and no other imperfections that I noticed. In my opinion this transfer is near reference quality.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     A Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track encoded at 448 Kb/s is the default offering and it also is excellent. Fortunately for a mostly dialogue based movie all the speaking is clear and synchronised with the video. There were also a few interesting directional effects which gave the surrounds a workout. For example the highly symbolic falling dominoes and the motorbike race make you aware of what can be achieved with five or more speakers. The well constructed soundtrack by David Byrne and Brian Eno also makes full use of surrounds and subwoofer with the distinctive voice of Byrne lending a real Talking Heads sound to proceedings.

     The Dolby Digital 5.1 track for the visually impaired is encoded at 384 Kb/s whereas the audio commentary from Oliver Stone is in Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192 Kb/s. There are no audio problems with the main 5.1 track and also none noticed on sampled sections of the alternate tracks.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

     After an opening montage the menu was still with looping audio.

Audio Commentary by Oliver Stone

     Stone overviews his theories on the world economic situation as well as describing the process behind Wall Street 2. Stone talks for the entire two plus hours, but fortunately always has something interesting to say and doesn't fall into the trap of merely describing the on-screen action. Stone is obviously a very intelligent and thoughtful man who puts a lot of effort in achieving the best outcome. This commentary is a highly recommended extra.

Gordon Gekko Is Back (9:07)

     1.78:1 aspect with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio at 192 Kb/s. A featurette looking back on the character of Gordon Gekko from the original Wall Street movie and transitioning to the sequel. Includes brief comments from Douglas, Stone, and other cast members and crew.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This disc includes the "Gordon Gekko Is Back" extra whereas some editions of the Region 1 version have "A Conversation with Oliver Stone and the Cast". As usual there is PAL versus NTSC and language differences. There are also Blu-ray versions of the movie with additional extras and a Region 1 two DVD pack which includes the original Wall Street on a separate disc. This disc as reviewed is a pre-release edition and so I can't be certain what the final Region 4 version will include. A Region 4 two DVD issue which presumably includes additional extras is expected to be available early in 2011. I think this would be the preferred offering.

Summary

     Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is an intelligent and excellently constructed follow up to the 1987 predecessor Wall Street. Michael Douglas is in top form as the possibly reformed stock market manipulator, and Brolin is suitably reptilian as the financier Bretton James. LaBeouf and Mulligan are also very good with Langella and Sarandon offering typically strong supporting performances. It is clear that Oliver Stone has a message to deliver here and he meticulously crafts this movie so that no threads are left untied. In doing so the movie might have some slow patches, and possibly fifteen minutes or so could have been cut out without losing any effectiveness. Some also might call the ending a cop-out, but they could just be jaded pessimists. Ultimately however this is an Oliver Stone film, and he does things his own way. With the strength of this, and his prior films, who are we to disagree with his craftsmanship? Highly recommended.

     The video quality is excellent. The audio quality is excellent. The extras are very good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mike B (read my bio)
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910 and Panasonic BD-35, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationDenon AVR-3808 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp
SpeakersB&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub

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