“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” So begins a quote from Matt Groening’s School is Hell comic, a line which may or may not have inspired an exchange between two characters in Harvey Kahn’s DIY production of Wall Street. Either way, the dialogue begs to be recapitulated and applied to Christian Slater: “Those who can, act. Those who can’t, produce.” Slater, The Deal‘s executive producer, stars as an exec for Delaney & Strong who takes over a merger for Condor Oil & Gas. When he discovers that his client is part of a global conspiracy, he wants to do right by the red, white, and blue in his heart, but his new boss applies some pressure below the belt: If Tom doesn’t close the merger before a certain time, he can say goodbye to his girlfriend Abbey (Selma Blair). The material is relevant—America is at war with the Arabs and it’s business as usual below Canal Street—but that’s not to say it’s any good: an NYPD Blue-style montage sequence sets up the hustle and bustle of New York City and the “other” world is represented by countless maps of oil reserves; the oft-seen exterior of Condor is about as menacing as Donald Trump’s hair; and intrigue comes in the form of Skinemax lovemaking, bad Russian accents, and the lamest car chase in the history of cinema. And as if the film’s allegiance to Wall Street weren’t already apparent, a character engages Gordon Gekko; that’s in addition to a reference to Napoleon and a quote from Julius Caesar. It’s not long into the film before you begin to miss the minimalist political paranoia of The Parallax View and even Three Days of the Condor, films that don’t spell out everything for their audience or don’t appear to have been shot by disgruntled Wall Street execs during a coffee break.
- Myriad Pictures
- 107 min
- Harvey Kahn
- Ruth Epstein
- Christian Slater, Selma Blair, John Heard, Angie Harmon, Kevin Tighe, Colm Feore, Robert Loggia
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: