(review written in 2007)
"This is your wake-up call, pal. Go to work."
Director Oliver Stone's award-winning 1987 portrayal of the stock market of the 80's, "Wall Street" stars Charlie Sheen as Bud Fox, a young kid who has made his way into a lower-level brokerage firm, hitting the phones every day trying to solicit new clients. Things look rather grim: a client has just stuck him with a loss of seven grand - a loss that he can't cover, as his Amex is maxed out to the point where the creditors are already hunting him down.
Yet, he still dreams - dreams about meeting his idol, millionaire investor Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), the "shark of sharks." Fox calls Gekko constantly in order to try and get any sort of time he can with his hero. Eventually, it's time for Gekko's birthday, and it's then that Fox comes up with a scheme in order to charm his way into Gekko's office. Instead of tossing him out, Gekko's impressed by the kid's persistence.
Gekko has everything - the cars, the house, the women, the art and now the cuban cigars that Bud has brought him for his birthday. Gekko gives the kid a chance with a major stock purchase, and Bud's successful purchase manages to get him the other foot in the door, with more money to invest on top of it. Things turn a little darker when Bud realizes that some of the moves that Gekko is making are questionably legal.
When Bud gets a loss, he begs for another chance, and in a wonderful scene, a storm turns the scene dark and thunder rumbles in the distance as Gekko decides to keep Bud around. Gekko doesn't want Bud to give him his information - he wants Bud to get him new information - valuable information. While Bud calls it insider trading, Gekko counters by mentioning Bud's acting on tips from his father (Martin Sheen). From there, it's a spiral into greed as Bud finds that Gekko's power and reach extends further - and takes greater and greater risks to maintain - then he ever realized. While Bud gets swept up in his newfound wealth and power, when Bud finds that he's been had by his mentor, he realizes that he has to try to turn the tables - but where does it end?
Douglas achieves a brilliant performance here, and was rightly awarded Best Actor that year. The performance is quite an entertaining portrayal of a man who sees himself largely as invincible against others in his business. A loss, to Gekko, is simply wrong - it shouldn't happen and it doesn't happen. It's all about winning, and he's won so many games that he's searching for bigger ballparks. Sheen is also terrific in one of his finest performances. Overall, while the film looks dated, it's still mighty entertaining and one of Oliver Stone's best.
VIDEO: Fox presents "Wall Street" in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is just satisfactory. Sharpness and detail are fair, as the film continually looks slight-to-moderately soft throughout. A noticable amount of grain is seen during nearly the entire film, and some minor specks and marks are occasionally seen on the elements used. No edge enhancement is seen, but some slight artifacting is spotted. Colors are a bit on the subdued side, but generally appear accurately presented.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is almost completely based in the front and almost seems mono-ish a lot of the time, with the dialogue being really the only feature for much of the film, although the occasional instances of score do serve to open up the sound, if only very slightly. The dialogue seems slightly thin and the overall sound lacks fullness. Although I didn't find it uncomfortable to listen to, it's just an average sound presentation. A Dolby 4.0 presentation is also included.
EXTRAS: Commentary: This is a commentary by director Oliver Stone. After listening to his commentary for "Born on the Fourth of July", I was quite interested in hearing another discussion from the director, who proved that not only is he a very good director, but a good storyteller on the previous commentary. Although there are times here when the director stops with a pause of silence, when he is talking he does provide the complete look at the making of the movie, from how his father's job inspired the film to what it was like working on the film and with the actors. What I like about Stone's commentaries that I've listened to is all of the stories and the way he shares them with the viewer. Rather than some directors who seem like they're just chatting to themselves, Stone seems like he's sharing with the audience. He's very honest and very engaging, and offers both what he likes, and maybe what he would have done differently had he been able to do it again. Rarely, if ever, does he simply talk about what's happening on screen. He is able to provide stories and interesting facts about much of the movie and overall, I found this to be another great commentary track from Stone. This commentary was included on the prior release.
Money Never Sleeps: This is a 47 minute documentary, featuring mainly interviews from Stone, Douglas and other members of the cast and crew, who provide a fascinating chat about the making of the movie and the stories behind Stone's thoughts on "Wall Street" in general. Additional behind-the-scenes clips from the time the movie was shot give us a further look at the making of the movie. Mainly interviews, but all very interesting. The documentary was included on the prior release.
Also: We get a subtitle fact track and a Fox Studio promotional featurette ("Fox Legacy With Tom Rothman")
Missing:: The 20th Anniversary Edition (produced in 2007) offered an additional documentary, deleted scenes and an introduction from Stone. Sadly, these features (which were quite good) have been carried over here.
Final Thoughts: Overall, while "Wall Street" looks dated, it's still mighty entertaining and one of Oliver Stone's best. This new DVD edition offers fine audio/video quality, but I'd very highly recommend seeking out the 20th Anniversary Edition - which has more in the way of extra features - instead.
The Film A