This week sees the general UK release of Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, biography of Jordan Belfort, noted financial fraudster and sex-haver. In honour of this, we turn our attention to probably moviedom’s most famous Wall Street inhabitant: Gordon Gekko.
Wall Street remains every bit as scathing and cynical today as it was when it was released nearly 30 years ago. Following the tale of an ambitious young stockbroker, Bud (Charlie Sheen) looking to get in on the action and swing with the big boys, who comes under the tutelage of his idol, the legendary corporate raider Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas). Through a combination of hero worship and huge material gain, Bud falls further into the heady world of capitalistic greed, coming ever closer to the line that separates the good from the corrupt.
Douglas works his Gordon Gekko into every aspect of this speech, playing to the crowd as the rationalist, the truth-teller, the one who will tell it like it needs to be told. He plays down or flat out ignores the outbursts of those he decries, giving him that much more command of the room. No dip, no stumble, no weakness in his presentation. And just watch how he doesn’t blink once from the moment the key phrase lands… uninterrupted eye contact with the whole room. Capitalism never seemed so up front and honest.
Setting the scene: Bud is now completely under the spell of Gordon Gekko, accompanying him to the stockholders meeting for company Teldar Paper, which Gekko wants to buy, ejecting the existing management structure. After a barbed and accusatory introduction by Teldar’s chairman Cromwell, Gekko stands out from the crowd, takes a microphone and begins his dissemination of the future of Teldar…