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Wall Street [Blu-ray]
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A yuppie broker courts a corporate raider with inside information.
Michael Douglas won an Oscar for perfectly embodying the Reagan-era credo that "greed is good." As a Donald Trump-like Wall Street raider aptly named Gordon Gecko (for his reptilian ability to attack corporate targets and swallow them whole), Douglas found a role tailor-made to his skill in portraying heartless men who've sacrificed humanity to power. He's a slick, seductive role model for the young ambitious Wall Street broker played by Charlie Sheen, who falls into Gecko's sphere of influence and instantly succumbs to the allure of risky deals and generous payoffs. With such perks as a high-rise apartment and women who love men for their money, Charlie's like a worm on Gecko's hook, blind to the corporate maneuvering that puts him at odds with his own father (played by Sheen's offscreen father, Martin). With his usual lack of subtlety, writer-director Oliver Stone drew from the brokering experience of his own father to tell this Faustian tale for the "me" decade, but the movie's sledgehammer style is undeniably effective. A cautionary warning that Stone delivers on highly entertaining terms, Wall Street grabs your attention while questioning the corrupted values of a system that worships profit at the cost of one's soul. --Jeff Shannon
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Oliver Stone's white collar crime drama Wall Street (1987) is a poignant depiction of moral corruption. Stone attempts to critique the rampant greed of Wall Street stock brokers vying to unimaginable wealth, but his film ended up being an inspiration for stock brokers after Wall Street's release. I guess the message of doing what is right despite it not being profitable was lost on audiences, but Wall Street remains a thoughtful commentary of the super wealthy's vapid existence and moral vacancy. Filled with sexual hedonism, moral depravity, limitless greed, casual cocaine usage, and fraud against the working class, Wall Street perseveres as a moral compass gone awry for decades to come. Wall Street still feels relevant today.
Oliver Stone's direction is riveting going from stock deal to deal and sleazy encounter one after another. His script is strong filled with quotable lines that have permeated culture into slogans of wealth, greed, and confidence. Though not the intended purpose, Wall Street would spark a new life into the stocks game due to Stone's vivid depiction of the pleasures, grandeur, and opulence of their lifestyle. Stone's script gives plenty of critique for their lack of ethical practices and shows how evil and manipulative insider trading really can be. But Wall Street also provides the reasoning behind their greedy corruption and depicts a decent man falling into the same greed as Gekko. Both Oliver Stone's script and direction are impressive as is his scope of New York's stock scene.
Michael Douglas is immaculate as the sleazy con artist Gordon Gekko. This character is iconic, not just for Stone's lines, but for how convincingly Douglas speaks them to life. Douglas gives us the slicked back hair and tailored expensive designer suited look for ages of yuppies to come. While his own performance is astonishing, his subtle cues and hints at his character's motives throughout Wall Street are just as impressive. Douglas transforms himself into a fast talking salesman lacking morals. He is exquisite as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.
Charlie Sheen is great as the eager, yet naive young stockbroker Bud Fox that just wants his own wealth. He downfall and redemption are fascinating as Sheen gives you his all. Martin Sheen plays up the stalwart father figure Carl Fox to his real life son Charlie Sheen. Martin represents the blue collar working man and a man of ideals. His guidance is key in Wall Street and clearly the proper way to life. If only more listened to Martin Sheen's words instead of Michael Douglas' after Wall Street.
Notably, Terence Stamp has a key cameo supporting role as an ethical investor named Sir Larry Wildman. His role is a neat representation of a broker with morals that could exist to make profit and help others simultaneously. He is the real role model alongside Martin Sheen's for they do what is right regardless of the consequences. Stamp creates such an unavoidable presence with his acting.
Daryl Hannah is pretty good as the shallow girlfriend Darien Taylor only doting on Charlie Sheen's character Bud for his wealth and appearance of ambition. She is the perfect vapid gold digger and a scathing critique of shallow empty women like her. Hannah may only appear to be eye candy for Stone to gaze at, but her character certainly feels like she portrays a woman used by Gekko and Bud for their own uses, while she gets something in return. She plays off Charlie Sheen very well and naturally. I think she gets a hard time for her role in Wall Street rather unfairly. Daryl's character is supposed to be easy to hate. She is not a decent woman, nor a role model.
Similarly, I liked Sean Young's fake Kate Gekko performance as well. John C. McGinley is funny as Marvin. Lastly, Hal Holbrook is wise and straight as Lou Manneheim. He gets some memorable scenes like Douglas and Sheen's wisdom passed down to Charlie.
Wall Street is simply a rush of avarice into your veins. The sleaze and greed of the 1980's is palpable and on purpose. Oliver Stone directed a classic film deserving of its iconic status in cinema. He captures the 1980's style and shapes it into something to critique anew.
The disc included the WRONG booklet - for "She's the One" - the Edward Burns film from the 1990s. The box was shrink wrapped and sealed with a printed label, so I assume this was a mistake at the factory (and possibly explains the sub-$10 price). In my opinion, the quality of the Blu Ray image on a 70-inch 1080P screen was "just OK" - I wasn't blown away by the picture, it was grainy and dark. My receiver showed the "DTS" logo and sound was excellent though. I have not watch the extra yet, but they appear to be old TV specials and in 4x3 format.
WHAT HOLDS UP WELL:
1. The performances - I had forgotten, but this movie has a ton of great actors beyond the main players.
2. The numbers - Many dollar amounts mentioned (i.e. Gekko's daily salary) are still impressive by today's standards.
3. The technology - It's glaringly outdated (a handheld copier, "brick" phone, camcorder, etc) but surprisingly it doesn't detract from the story and makes the viewer focus on the story all the more.
WHAT DOES NOT HOLD UP WELL:
1. Technicalities - Early on there's a reference to the Challenger explosion, even though the scene was taking place in 1985 before the explosion. (Of course, this film was made 32 years ago before it was so easy to look all this stuff up..)
2. Film-audience interaction - At one point, Bud looks out on the city and literally asks "Who am I" - this line was cringe inducing and I'd imagine there would be a more subtle way to convey this point today.
3. The costumes - For some reason, the costumes and artwork (D. Hannah's gray hat for example) even though they were just as outdated as the technology were a lot more "jarring"..
WHY REVISIT THIS NOW:
When this movie was released, I was barely entering high school and saw it on cable TV. As an adult having been in the workforce a while, I can relate better now to some of the business issues (companies being carved up, discussing career goals with your dad, "hard work" vs stock manipulation, etc.). And while I am not particularly a fan of Stone's (or Sheen's) politics, I do feel like this tells a good story.
I’m upgrading from the 2007 20th anniversary DVD which looked great on old CRT TVs and passable on late 2000s 1080p LCDs. However that 2007 Blu-ray/DVD transfer is not only heavily dated but dark, lacking depth and simply just lifeless.
I made sure to order the Signature Series version from 2012 which comes from a brand new 4K scan and restoration and the results are immediately apparent from the get go and it looks superb on my LG OLED C8. Black levels are fantastic, flesh tones natural (no oversaturated red push here), a big uptick in detail and great delineation. Absolutely no DNR to be found here. The grain varies from being a little bit chunky in the opening title sequence to being rather fine for the majority of the film making for a very filmic transfer and the way 35mm movies should always be presented on a high resolution format such as Blu-Ray.
It is such a big difference that Fox should’ve stopped printing the old 2007 disc. So don’t say you weren’t warned!
The audio hasn’t fared as well but it’s lossless and true to the source. While dialogue is audible and clear throughout the track isn’t very dynamic and voices are rather thin lacking fullness. While there is tear activity at times this movie is front/center channel heavy with both the original Dolby 4.0 track and the 5.1 remix.
Overall I highly recommend this disc and $5 is a steal for a film and transfer of this quality. If you love this movie you would be doing yourself a disservice by not taking advantage of the super low price while it lasts.
Top international reviews
The film doesn't have a great deal of colour, the office interior is largely made up of greys, whites and browns, as are most of the costumes that the characters wear. There's some nice establishing shots of New York in the early morning as Charlie Sheen's character makes his way to work. The film is very heavy on dialogue and the plot is generally easy enough to follow, the environment the traders work in is fast and energetic.The film explores nicely the dynamics of father/son relationships. Sheen's character finds himself under the influence of Michael Dogulas's character a slick, powerful entrepreneur who takes him under his wing. This corrupting influence is presented in stark contrast with his actual father an old fashioned union rep with a deep distrust of rich businessmen and a strong thread of decency and principle in his body.
Telling the tale of Budd Fox (Charlie Sheen), a young upstart, heavily in debt with stars in his eyes, the story starts off smoothly. Desperate to get in with the big hitters, he soon finds himself getting into highly dodgey business with Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas).
Charlie Sheen turns in the finest performance of his career and really brings out the pathos in the naive and young Budd Fox, trapped in the dark business that is sales. Before he knows it, he has become exactly what he set out to be, with all the baggage attatched. Douglas is also fantastic as the inspirational and ultimately repulsive Gekko, and the list of lackies and struggling salesmen as the scum and losers of this morality tale deliver with panache. How far would you go? How much is too much?
Oliver Stone has earned his reputation as a controversial film maker; from the violence of war in Platoon to spurious conspiracy claims in JFK, and Wall Street is no exception. Some call it anti capitalist or plain Marxist, I don't. For me, I look at the ending and see the consequences of dishonesty. Stone brings about a negative twist to the world which I have seen with my own eyes. No one ever said it was perfect, and those who say it is all bad are just plain wrong. And no film ever showed that better than Wall Street.
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Often imitated, never surpassed, "Wall Street" is a stylish, intoxicating, stunning embodiment of an era when anybody could carve his way to the very top of American society by ruthless ambition and sheer determination; it was true when it was made, and it is possibly even more true today with the current economic gloom.
"The main thing about money, Bud, is that it makes you do things you don't want to do".
Gekko: "If somthing's worth doing it's worth doing for money. I'm talking liquid. Enough money to have your own jet. Enough money not to waste time. Fifty, one hundred million dollars. A player."
So strap on your braces, slick back your hair, light up an Esplendido and fire up the DVD player---money never sleeps, pal.
Just another great film by a great actor.
Like in so many of his films, and like his father, Kirk, makes acting look so effortless and natural.
As for the movie 'Wall Street', I found it intriguing and fascinating in the way that greed for money and the desire to make more can change a persons personality beyond recognition.
The way the movie portrays the world of stockbroking is mind blowing. how these people thrive on it I'll never know.
Excellent movie, the sequel "Wallstreet - Money never Sleeps" is good too.
and it toys with morality in a sort of adult children with fangs way, who choose greed, and power over fairness, and decency...
But it's never all bad.
dilivery a bit slow. Took over a week to get to me so slightly disapointed in service regarding that, but at least I got it!