Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday Feature Movie Review: Wall Street: Michael Douglas: An Oliver Stone Film 1987 ウォール街: マイケル・ダグラス: オリバーストーンフィルム

 Greed is Good! This classic phrase has lived on to represent finance for decades since this Oliver Stone film was released in 1987. Some 30 years later, the movie still holds its own. Gordon Gekko, the main villain of this movie became the new anti-hero for a new generation within finance. He is played perfectly by Michael Douglas in arguably his best iconic role on film. Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen, gets to play every financial professional's dream.  To start out in the trenches and rise up to become a real "player" like "GG" (aka Gordon Gekko). At the time, that took around US$50-100 million dollars in cash. A large sum for sure, but the most important aspect being "liquid" with that fortune. Today I would assume that a billionaire would have to be the next new benchmark of financial success. The million dollar condo in Manhattan at the time was still seen as unattainable for many. Today a more expensive US$10-20 million dollar condo overlooking Central Park, like the One57 the billionaire building, may work best. Such would be the new address for the same sort of lifestyle choice allowed only for the exclusive few. The 1% at the top of the financial mountain.

The director's casting is also interesting as Martin Sheen, plays Carl Fox, Charlie Sheen & Bud Fox's father in the movie, not just in real life. On a side note, Martin is shown in hospital after the heart attack. In real life, that scene was shot right after Martin actually had a real heart attack. The tears for Charlie Sheen were said to be easy to muster as the memory was so recent. It was also the first scene shot with Martin Sheen, hence a limited amount of dialogue from a hospital bed. This may be one of Oliver Stone's best casting choices ever. Rarely does a father son presence on screen hit its mark so solidly with audiences.

Blue Star airlines where Carl Fox works in charge of the maintenance men, becomes important. It becomes a key stock target as the overfunded pension fund is too attractive a pot of gold to be left alone by GG. Another key scene is how to tip off the press by calling a key journalist. "Blue horse shoe loves Blue Star Airlines". Making such a risky call from a corporate desk on a recorded line seems odd today. Why not use a pay phone? At least it was not in an email.

The key point of the film is how information is the ultimate currency and path to riches. Sun Tzu and the "Art of War" is also introduced as a new Wall Street bible to learn strategy and insight from. What is legal, what is not, and what is in the grey zone of profitability. Legal viewpoints versus bendable rules that are "just a guide" is what the moral of the storyline tries to explain. Machiavelli does not get the last laugh. In this movie, "the end does not justify the means" it just gets a person in jail. The pursuit of money has a cost, nobody is above the law. That lesson rings very true to the viewer. Hedge Funds have been recent villains, and some founders who crossed those lines have gone to prison or paid big fines. There is now a big price to pay for bending any rules.

The Top 3 Takeaways from this movie that really impact any reader are:

1) Surprisingly, little has changed in the world of finance over 30 years. The young & hungry still have drive and ambition like before. The internal politics of any dealing room remain the same. Perhaps only testosterone may have come down a bit 3 decades later, not much of course but some, as quant geeks now rule the trading floor.
2) Technology may change over time, but new technology and its adoption is part of finance even today. New ways of communicating are constantly evolving without end.
3) The competitive nature of mind games and risk swagger have changed very little over 30 years. What cars or purchases may have different brands today, but the raw and burning drive to make it to financial independence has not changed at all over time. That drive to succeed it seems, is timeless.

Despite its age, only the electronic technology is dated. The people, their actions, and how they speak, all seem as contemporary today and it was in original release now 30 years ago. It was no lucky accident that this was the case. Oliver Stone's father was a career stockbroker and authentic tremendous care was taken in making sure that the script was very realistic. Not a single line seems out of place. Every attitude and snicker fits together perfectly like a bespoke suit. It still stands well against the test of time. Highly Recommended!

Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, services and anything else with a financial theme. Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance!

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Twitter, the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, over 50,000+ followers already have! click here! 

バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位の採用企業50,000以上のフォロワーが既に持っています!クリックしてください

For more Buy-Side and Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team.

    Tokyo                                                                Tokyo
             Mark  Pink                                                  Shinichi Nagasawa
      Direct + 81 3 3505 3891                                       Direct  +81 3 3505 3891
            Email                         Email

No comments:

Post a Comment