Wall Street: The Vampires Of Capitalism

Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) is working on Wall Street as stockbroker in the early 1980s, firm in his American Dream that if he works hard enough he will be rich and get to the top. He works for his firm in the daytime and works with another broker called Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) who is ruthless, greedy and extremely successful. He is stinking rich. He takes Bud under his wing and begins to mentor him with one of his first teachings, being that “Greed is Good”. Taking the methodologies of Gekko, Fox finds himself swept into the highlife of the top one percenters, a world of shady business deals, corruption and big money. This is a way of life that is at odds with his family, especially with his father Carl Fox (Michael Sheen) who is a blue-collar worker, the way Bud was raised.

Gekko (Douglas) tells Bud (Sheen) that “If you aren’t inside, you’re outside.” He implies that in order to get rich, you have to take part in insider trading…just don’t get caught. Gekko buys companies for tuppence and liquidates them for ‘mega money’. Gordon Gekko is a pragmatist, ruthless and I didn’t take to him at all. May be he was doing what he needs to do to survive on Wall Street, but it seems doing what needs to be done turns men into monsters and complete assholes. I could never be someone like that. There’s no other word I can comfortably use to describe his character, very uncanny to Wolf Of Wall Street’s Jordan Belfort. Gekko came first, but their characters are uncanny. Michael Douglas plays this character to perfection with much wit, charm and charisma.

Bud (Charlie Sheen) and Old Scratch (Michael Douglas) (Wall Street, 20th Century Fox)

Bud (Charlie Sheen) and Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas)
(Wall Street, 20th Century Fox)

Director Oliver Stone (Platoon) takes an intelligent view of the morality and ethical ideologies of insider trading. Once you get a taste for it, you don’t stop. The greed grows inside you like a weed and once you see the economical rewards, you don’t want to stop. Law breaking is no object when you’re “getting rich quick.” Stone takes a stand against a system that doesn’t see humans as individuals, but numbers. Wall Street doesn’t really make you think. It’s more of a confirmation of what we should already know about places like Wall Street. It’s a Jurassic park, full of corruption and people with an ambiguous sense of ethics and morality.

Bud Fox is played by a 1987 Charlie Sheen, in his prime. In the movie, Bud is fighting two fathers. The first is his actual father, played by the great Michael Sheen (West Wing) and the latter, Gekko (Douglas). They’re both fighting for his allegiance. One is fighting for his son back and the latter is fighting for the man who keeps making him money. Gekko’s allegiance is to anyone who makes him money, and it’s despicable. Carl Fox (Michael Sheen) is an airline mechanic, blue-collar worker and a union man. He sees Gekko as a leech, money-obsessed with a serious lack of virtues, but moreover, truly evil. And that he is.

Michael Sheen's honourable and blue-collared Carl Fox (Wall Street, 20th Century Fox)

Michael Sheen’s honourable and blue-collared Carl Fox
(Wall Street, 20th Century Fox)

After reaching his American Dream, and then some, Bud comes back to the real world and realises that he’s not the person he was. Greed and having too much money does that to people. He’s gone from the highlife of society to the real working life, where his father came from, and the lands between. I suppose you could call this his road to enlightenment. Money makes you paranoid, wicked, horrible, evil and you begin to give off this aura of arrogance. When you have all that money, you begin to think that you’re entitled and everyone else is inferior. You may be rich but that doesn’t give you a get out of jail free card to be an asshole. As with these types of films, it doesn’t end well for the protagonists, as karma will always get you eventually.

The hearts of men are so easily corrupted