From my column in Taki's Magazine:
A cinematic development I hadn’t expected is Oliver Stone evolving into a director who makes movies that are fair, responsible, and forgettable. His sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, with Michael Douglas returning as reptilian financier Gordon Gekko, falls squarely into all three categories. ...
Surprisingly, Stone has taken some of the criticism to heart. Thus, his recent history-inspired films have been less contrived than, say, The Social Network. Stone’s 2008 biopic about George W. Bush, W, which used mostly public utterances as private dialogue, plausibly blamed the Iraq War on the younger Bush’s Daddy Issues, something Stone knows all about.
Stone’s new movie fictionalizing 2008’s Great Crash is informative and reasonable, with the conspiracy-theorizing kept to the margins. The financial industry, Stone sagely concludes (echoing his old-fashioned stockbroker father whose 1985 death inspired the first Wall Street), should raise capital for industry, not indulge in speculation.
Yet even the most desperate advertising copywriter wouldn’t adorn a movie ad with the quote “Informative and Reasonable!” in 72-point type. And if Oliver Stone won’t indulge in malicious speculation about Wall Street, to whom can we turn? ...
Money Never Sleeps at least does continue Stone’s practice of middlebrow free association, as if he were perusing Wikipedia on acid. Just as Gordon “Greed Is Good” Gekko’s name is a mashup of the lizard and Gordon Getty, once the richest man on the Forbes 400, Josh Brolin’s handsome villain is called “Bretton James,” an apparent concoction of Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and 1944’s Bretton Woods trade conference that set up the IMF and the World Bank, so you know he's rich and connected.
Read the whole thing there.