Synonymous for the saying “greed is good” Wall Street gave us a look at how the 80s were the times the yuppies ruled the planet in a more realistic way than An American Psycho did. While centering around young and promising stock trader Bud Fox the most memorable aspect was the character of Gordon Gekko played by Michael Douglas. While the villain of the story it’s not hard to see that over the years he has become an anti-hero that actually inspires people.
But in 1987 this was Charlie Sheen’s movie with Gordon Gekko only being a villain-character introduced after 20 minutes or so. Bud is a young and ambitious stockbroker who does his best to gain the attention of the extremely successful broker Gordon Gekko. When he does gain the attention he enters a world of sex, drugs and shady business deals which as is obligatory in movies, will take the best of him. At one point he points out that nobody gets hurt when doing insider trading but eventually sees everything around him fall to pieces.
The movie is interesting because it shows us the rotten aspect of the stock market and yet that aspect really became to fruition after it. The current crisis is a clear example of it. But at the time this was not the case; Gordon Gekko was the villain, Bud Fox was the hero. A flawed one at that. His descent to the top is an interesting one and something we all would like to have. We all want to sit on the top level of the building in that chair overseeing ones own empire. Bud is on his way and enjoys life to the fullest but with every success he detaches him more and more from his friends and family. Eventually his quest for money puts the lives of the people who were around him at peril.
Greed apparently isn’t so good.
This is the message Oliver Stone tries to deliver us. But it is in our system that we first take care of ourselves and than of each other so it’s not quite unsurprising that the charismatic Gordon Gekko is the real hero of the story. If you could make that kind of a money in a day, why wouldn’t you? Well there is that corrupting factor of it, but when it’s falling in your lap nobody cares. Ever seen a lottery-winner that wasn’t happy with their prize? Not when they’ve just heard they won it.
Even though the movie’s message hasn’t gotten a older, the look of the movie is clearly dated which actually adds up to the fun of the movie. Everybody giggles when they see Gekko with his mobile phone on a beach, and the decoration of Bud Fox’s luxurious condo is really dreadful.
Wall Street is a prime example of a movie in which the villain turns out to be the star of the show. When I said I wouldn’t mind being Gordon Gekko somebody asked me: haven’t you learned anything? I responded with: yeah, don’t talk to somebody about your deeds who you recently screwed over and has every reason to wear a wire.