Wall Street | Chicago Reader

Wall Street

Oliver Stone's follow-up to Platoon—developed from a script by Stanley Weiser, who is credited as cowriter with Stone—juxtaposes an experienced multimillionaire corporate raider (Michael Douglas) and a young broker faced with moral conflicts (Charlie Sheen), set against the background of the bull market in 1985 and 1986. Structured like a morality play, the film flirts in its first part with a megabuck fantasy out of Ayn Rand, with comic book flourishes and campy macho initiations suggesting an urban western; the second half is a masochistic liberal fantasy that asks us to feel guilty about the first part. The oscillation of the young hero between bad father (Douglas) and good father (Martin Sheen) recapitulates the same metaphysics as Platoon, and the only function of women in this world is to serve as status symbols: Daryl Hannah as first prize is given such conflicting drives that she eventually cancels herself out of the movie; an unrecognizable Sean Young serves as Douglas's parodically proplike wife, and the young hero's mother is conspicuously absent. Stone and Weiser keep much of this entertaining with rapid-fire ticker-tape dialogue and brisk pacing; there's an amusing montage sequence about outfitting a yuppie apartment, and other assorted scenic splendors along the way. But the sensibility of this movie is so adolescent that it's hard to take it as seriously as the filmmakers intend us to. A Network for the 80s? Maybe, but with just an extra added touch of Youngblood Hawke.

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