As perfect an embodiment of the 1980s as cinema threw up in the entire decade, Wall Street is director Oliver Stone’s take on the big-business-crushes-all culture, a film that’s inevitably as salient today as it was then. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t dated: the outfits, haircuts and technology give the game away long before anyway opens their mouths. But there’s still plenty to enjoy.
Top of the bill, of course, is Michael Douglas’ outstanding Oscar-winning performance as Gordon Gekko. His “greed is good” speech has long since earned its place in movie history, and even though he isn’t on screen for too much of the film – it’s really Charlie Sheen as Bud Fox who does most of the running round – it’s fair to say he dominates it.
Looking back, Wall Street works extremely well up until the point of the inevitable redemption, which is its key problem. As the documentary on the disc concedes, that’s the point where the high fliers it targets switch off and go for another pina colada. And you can understand why: the rise of Bud Fox – and what he’s willing to do to climb up the ladder – is far more interesting than the inevitable downfall (which feels a little tacked on).
Still, watching all this does lead to an inevitable question: what the hell is Wall Street doing in high definition? We’ve examined this topic before, but it’s still an odd choice for the format. Sure, it looks quite good (although you’d be hard pushed to say it was a big jump over the special edition DVD), although the audio is far less impressive. But there was no compelling need for a Blu-ray release of Wall Street, and this very much proves it.
The extras are, unusually for a Fox release of late, pretty much in place from the aforementioned special edition DVD. So you get hefty documentaries, including a terrific, nigh-on hour long Greed Is Good retrospective. And Oliver Stone is also present and correct on an interesting commentary track, that’s well worth taking for a spin. Throw in an assortment of deleted scenes, and you have a good package.
However, the point remains: in spite of the qualities of the film, and in spite of the fact that the extras are strong, this is no high definition purchase. The extras are mainly sourced from the recent, cheaper special edition DVD, and you’re losing nothing of note by opting for that instead. Your wallet will thank you, too, and your telly will barely notice.