September 26, 2010
The Sequel to the Best Movie Ever About Rule 10b-5...
...opened this weekend. While Wall Street II may have disappointed its reviewer at The New York Times (see Joe Nocera's "When Did Gekko Get So Toothless?"), I still have to marvel at any mainstream film that combines industry terms like "margin," "short sellers," and "credit default swap" with such aphorisms as "Money is a jealous mistress."
What is alarming, however, about Oliver Stone's reprise of Gordon Gekko is the complete absence of laws and regulators. Wall Street I juxtaposed the action with slow but persistent bureaucrats who eventually catch up with young Bud Fox and arrest him for conspiring to violate the Insider Trading and Securities Fraud Enforcement Act (a crime which, if technically impossible, nonetheless reeks of force of law).
In Wall Street II, while the government occasionally arrives with a bailout checkbook, justice is left to market titans and internecine capitalism. Concurrently, the economic crisis is blamed on causes ranging from greedy CEOs to greedy hedge funds, and from greedy real estate brokers to greedy owners of plasma TVs (i.e., we're all to blame). In that regard, Mr. Stone may have sounded the most fatalistic refrain on the Crisis to date: Nobody's watching, and we're all Gekko.
Obviously, the legendary filmmaker has a dim view of the protections afforded by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. Conversely, the soundtrack - at each tranche - was upbeat and (I dare say) triple A.
September 26, 2010 | Permalink