Wall Street (1987)

(Second viewing, On DVD, August 2007) I’ve often maintained that this film should end up being the definitive film of the eighties, and another look at it just confirms my suspicions: It’s ageing really well, with just enough period detail to make it look grounded (ah, mid-eighties technology…) while the film itself is driven with a solid grasp of contemporary filmmaking techniques. The dialogue is delicious, Michael Douglas’s Oscar-winning Gordon Gekko is a fantastic antagonist, the narrative drive of the film just keeps going… oh yes, this film holds up well even today. Even the blank characterization of Charlie Sheen works well up to a point, since the character is supposed to act as our stand-in for the film. Less successful are the lacklustre performances by the two female stars of the film, neither of whom do much to distinguish themselves in underwritten roles. Writer/Director Oliver Stone’s audio commentary is spectacular, informing us about the making of the film, the problems that Stone had in dealing with the actors, reactions to reviews of the film and a deeper look into the thematic intentions of the film. (Hint: It’s all about fathers.) Unfortunately, the documentary featured on the disc is a bit long, relies too much on clips from the film and covers some of the same ground as the commentary. But otherwise, the DVD is an excellent showcase to a great movie.

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