Wall Street

Wall Street (1987)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Daryl Hannah, Martin Sheen
Extras: Commentary Track, Documentary, Trailers

"Greed is good!" is one of the maxims of Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s film "Wall Street, " and at times we are tempted to believe his reasoning. However, once greed is out of bounds and limitless, it poses a very serious problem, both on a human level, as well as in the business world. In his 1987 film "Wall Street," Oliver Stone examines the shrewd lengths that one obsessed financial wizard goes to in order to make a profit, all the time, at any cost, pulling others with him in his maelstrom of greed, exploitation and ruthless egomania. Finally, the film is now coming to DVD courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) is an ambitious young stock broker on the hunt for new clients. Raised in Queens he is the son of a working class family and is determined to strike it rich on Wall Street. His idol is Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), a financial wizard who seems to have the Midas touch. Day after day, Bud tries to get Gekko on the phone, but to no avail, until one day, he shows up in the magnate’s office with a birthday present. Gekko lends Bud his ears for five short minutes, and those minutes will change his life. With inside information, Bud is able to offer Gekko a stock tip that he can turn into millions of dollars. Impressed, Gekko decides to give the young broker a chance and brings him into his elite circle of brokers and moneymakers. Soon however, Bud learns that all this wizardry relies on a number of dirty and illegal tricks. Lured by the wealth, the lifestyle and Gekko’s former girlfriend, Bud is quickly entangled in the web of Gekko’s machinery and throws his inhibitions overboard. But there’s a saying. The higher they go, the harder they fall…

Thrilling, exciting and tempting, "Wall Street" paints a picture of ruthless moneymaking with a suave disguise. The cast is incredible and especially Michael Douglas’ performance as Gordon Gekko is mesmerizing. The way he makes his wheels work, the way he eloquently talks to stock holders to make them trust him, the way he works his numbers, is what gives "Wall Street" a very authentic note. With Charlie Sheen on his side as the overly ambitious young broker who slowly loses touch with reality and decency, we get to witness his transformation in a very realistic way. The whole Moloch of big money Wall Street juggling is perfectly brought to the screen in this film with powerful characters and a story that is entertaining, yet informed and with an authentic feel for the subject matter. With his racy direction, Oliver Stone, also manages to capture the adrenaline-laden excitement of Wall Street, but at the same time manages to paint images of almost serene private lives after the closing bell.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is presenting "Wall Street" in a new <$16x9,16x9 enhanced> <$PS,widescreen> presentation in the movie’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. While the transfer looks generally good, I did not remember the movie being so overly dark as it is presented on this disc. Cloaked in shadows with very deep blacks, the image has a warm quality, yet always maintains an almost surreal, ominous look. With stark contrasts, the image boasts strong colors that are finely delineated, although reds appear slightly over-enhanced. The transfer itself is generally clean, but some signs of wear are visible. Film grain and some scratches are reminders to the fact that after all, even the best-looking DVD is struck form film elements. In the case of "Wall Street" some additional clean-up in selected scenes wouldn’t have hurt, but fortunately these minor blemishes never really get in the way of the presentation. Some edge enhancement has been applied to the transfer, creating ringing artifacts in high contrast situations, but they are fortunately less visible in the film’s general settings. The compression has been done quite well and no <$pixelation,pixelation> or other notable compression artifacts are evident in the presentation.

"Wall Street" features a <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> audio track, as well as an English <$DS,Dolby surround> track and a French mono mix – which is incorrectly listed as a Dolby Surround track on the packaging. Since the whole presentation of the film is not overly spatial, either one of the tracks serves its purpose just fine. While the <$5.1,5.1 mix> has added dimensionality and spatial integration, this is not a mix that makes frequent use of the surround channels or the LFE channel. Mostly dialogue driven, the soundfield is mostly centered in the front with a good stereo field and occasional ambient surround effects. Frequency response is good and creates a natural sounding presentation with good, sonorous bass and clear high ends. Dialogues are very well integrated and always maintain an understandable level.

The DVD also contains an <$commentary,audio commentary> by director Oliver Stone. Stone is one of those eclectic filmmakers who always follow a purpose with their movies, other than sheer entertainment and cheap thrills. There is nothing in his movies that doesn’t serve such a purpose and in this commentary, Oliver Stone discusses all these details, character strokes, production details, thoughts and anecdotes. It is a extremely informative <$commentary,commentary track> that never comes across as overly dry. For the entire running length of the film Stone fills the viewer in on tidbits and details that may go unnoticed if you simply consume the film, and it also gives you a much better understanding for what his ideals and intentions with the film were. I found it very valuable, as to me it added a new dimension to the film on top of what I thought I was able to interpret before.

You will also find a new documentary on this DVD, entitled "Money Never Sleeps." With interviews by cast and crew members, this documentary is a well-produced look behind the scenes of the film. Offering a bit of insight into the stock market in the context of the movie, the film also explores the characters a bit deeper and offers some nice footage from behind-the-scenes during the film’s production. The disc is rounded out with two trailers of the movie. Sadly, no cast and crew biographies are part of this release.

I have always found "Wall Street" to be a magnetic film. Whether it is just the dream of the fast and easy money, the lure of Wall Street riches or the dastardly methods that Gekko uses to make his fortunes, there is something about the movie that is absolutely magnetic. Combined with the strong, almost thriller-like climax of the film, "Wall Street" is unique and powerful cinema that is beautifully presented on this DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. If you’re looking for a good investment, "Wall Street" is a safe bet!