"...It's not a question of enough, pal. It's a zero sum game, somebody wins, somebody loses. Money itself isn't lost or made, it's simply transferred from one perception to another.".
Oliver Stone's 1987 morality play has, nearly fifteen years since it's initial release, come to encapsulate the capitalistic impulse of the 1980's. The bromides espoused by Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas in a meaty, Oscar-winning role) offer a wealth of food for thought. Charlie Sheen, in a role not unlike the one he played the year before in Stone's Platoon, isn't nearly as explosive as Douglas, but manages to play both wide-eyed innocent and callous bastard with some ease.
Many point to the Greed Is Good monologue as the single best part of the film. I feel, however, that the most effective scene occurs as Gekko and Fox ride down the New York streets, passing by a street urchin and a well-
dressed businessman on the sidewalk. Gekko points the two out to Fox:
"Look at that. Are you going to tell me the difference
between this guy and that guy is luck?"
This scene, and the entire "battle" between Gekko, Fox, and Fox's hard-working, engineer father (Martin Sheen), illustrate two great dichotomies at play: wealth gained through cutthroat business deals vs. wealth that comes from honest labor, as the well as the question of nature vs. nuture.
Wall Street also successfully captures Stone at his most sedated: the viewer won't find the cinematic overkill that has been his trademark since JFK. As an
added bonus, the soundtrack boasts an appropriately moody Stewart Copeland score, as well as two different selections from the David Byrne/Brian Eno collaboration, My Life In The Bush of Ghosts,
topped off with Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)".
By all accounts, this is Oliver Stone's finest hour.