Critics Picks: Wall Street | The New York Times

A. O. Scott looks back at Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street” and its relevance to the current financial crisis.

Well ladies and gentlemen we’re out here to indulge some fantasy but in political and economic reality america america has become a second-rate power its trade deficit and its fiscal deficit are at nightmare proportions it’s hard to believe that 21 years have gone by since this movie was released in december of 1987 in the wake of merger mania and a bunch of

Scandals in the stock market and also of the stock market collapse in october of 87 but before the savings and loan scandals the keating five the long boom of the 1990s the bull market of 2000 and the current collapse in crisis which makes the movie all the more relevant today now on the surface wall street is a fairly conventional hollywood melodrama about the

Rise and fall and the struggle for the soul of young bud fox a stockbroker played by charlie shue this movie showcases some of oliver stone’s strengths as a director his ability to create a sense of immediacy and energy and dynamism when he takes you into the trading floor or the brokerage houses it also shows off one of stone’s great strengths as a screenwriter

Because there are so many memorable lines that can be quoted again and again and again money never sleeps burnham and burnham i am offering you the knicks and chicks if you need a friend get a dog you’re on a roll kid enjoy it while it lasts as it never does now if at any time in the last two decades you were to walk into an investment bank or a brokerage house

Or a business school classroom you’d probably hear these lines quoted and not with irony but with reverence and awe that’s because wall street which was intended as a fable as a cautionary tale about the excesses of capitalism is turned into one of the most enjoyable and effective advertisements for capitalism ever made and that’s because it features perhaps the

Greatest pitchman for the capitalist system that the world has ever seen mr. gordon gekko they’re analysts they don’t know preferred stock from livestock all right so you way to head south and we raise sperm the dok get back it’s played by michael douglas in an oscar-winning performance gekko is a charismatic predator a fascinating character but more than just a

Smooth-talking machiavellian villain he really escapes from the efforts of the movie to contain him and to make him a bad guy who will all hate and will all know his wife and in this gekko has some resemblance to satan and john milton’s paradise lost one of the great villains in english literature but also the most attractive most seductive most intriguing character

In that poem you forget that he is evil the things that he say make a lot of sense the picture that he paints of the world is attractive and logical and rational and it’s very hard to imagine that he might be wrong or that he might not have our best interests at heart the point is ladies and gentlemen that greed for lack of a better word is good greed is right

Greed works greed clarifies cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit greed in all of its forms greed for life for money for love knowledge has marked upward surge of mankind and greed you mark my words well not only save teldar paper but that other malfunctioning corporation called the usa thank you very much

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Critics' Picks: 'Wall Street' | The New York Times By The New York Times