Leftist filmmaker Oliver Stone's sequel to "Wall Street" wasn't leftist enough to satisfy the Times' Joe Nocera in his piece for the Sunday Arts & Leisure section: "When Did Gekko Get So Toothless?"
Nocera, who normally writes the "Talking Business" column for the Times, thought Stone blinked in the face of Wall Street's many sins.
Truth to tell, I wasn't really buying what Mr. Stone was selling. The more he protested, the more he sounded like a man who hadn't pulled off what he had set out to accomplish and was now making after-the-fact excuses. Not unlike Wall Street itself in the aftermath of the financial crisis, when you come to think of it.
Nocera was quite self-righteous in his jeremiad.
It's true, as Mr. Stone says, that it's not easy to show a credit default swap on-screen. Still, the events that took place on Wall Street from the summer of 2007, when the crisis began, to the fall of 2008, when even mighty Goldman Sachs's survival was in doubt, were inherently dramatic. The greed that Mr. Stone so vividly conveyed in his first "Wall Street" movie got completely out of hand. Much of the trading that went on in the prelude to the crisis was almost nihilistic, utterly lacking any redeeming virtue. Villains abounded. Was it really so impossible to build a movie script out of this material?
There is something a little unfair, I realize, in criticizing a director for not making the film you had hoped he would make. But fans of the original "Wall Street" will come to this new movie expecting Mr. Stone to tap into the nation's anger by dramatizing Wall Street's sins. They are going to be disappointed. Mr. Stone looked the crisis straight in the eye - and blinked.
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