WALL STREET Money Never Sleeps

When I was in 5th grade, Lee Dumas, obviously a candidate for stronger & smarter than the average 5th grader, had already hit some sort of pubescent phase and had registered an all time low in vocal tones. But being bigger and louder, and redheaded to boot, only encouraged him to talk gleefully and incessantly. Talking got him in trouble, and in trouble meant missing a much needed recess. My mom used to say, “I think he’s misunderstood. His voice is lower and it carries. I like him.” “I like that Lee Dumas,” she’d repeat. I liked him too. So often I wondered what would become of him. I heard that he went to work on Wall Street – that he’d put that carrying voice to work.
Carrying voices or not, we all want to be heard, to be noticed. We all seek after dreams and success in some way or another. Stanislavski (famed for creating his now commonly used acting methods) called  this the “golden key,” a questioning in which actors ascertain what a character wants and therefore what moves them forward. This movie, directed by Oliver Stone, shows tragic individuals vying and gambling in view of their own golden keys. All gifted in business, but out for self…”for number one,” as they say.
Before we attempt to scrape the speck from Shia LeBouf’s eye, let’s consider his performance the most endearing and his ability to cry on cue confirmed. Wow – such waterworks.
The writing works, the cast is incredible, the filming meaningful, but the visual motifs are heavy-laden. The bubble metaphor waxes pretentious, not eye-opening. The characters we are meant to cry for and over (not to mention WITH) are not loveable -or even really likable. I wish that Stone had spent more time developing these characters and less panning over jewels, wine glasses, and skylines. Carrie Mulligan’s tormented daughter routine, for instance, sadly shows only one dimension as every close-up face shot portrays the one desire for a present father figure. She wanted this as a little girl and she wants it now. And the Father? THE Michael Douglas plays too wicked a Faustus to buy back his soul in the end. Brolin deals in and out, proving the formidable player of the big game. Perhaps, in the end, we are all a lot like that kid, Lee Dumas, fighting for attention and hoping to be noticed for our strengths and dreams as much as our weaknesses.
Unfortunately, this film drags and ebbs proving again the tide of the self-seeking and money-driven to be none other than LONELY. Shocker.

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