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The Capitalist System and Human Greed in Wall Street (1987) - Essay Example

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The Capitalist System and Human Greed in Wall Street (1987)

Bud becomes an insider trader and involves himself in illegal activities, so that he could give vital information to Gekko. This essay analyzes the elements that Stone used to depict the film's theme. Stone used plot, character development, and editing style to depict the theme that the capitalist system has its excesses, but individual greed is still to be predominantly blamed for the system's immoralities. The capitalist system has a propensity for greed, because of its focus on material wealth as an end itself. The capitalist focuses on material wealth as an end itself, thereby treating other human beings as means to an end. Stone's plot started with the capitalist system's external features, such as buildings and workers. He used establishing shots too in Gekko's office to demonstrate his power and wealth. His office is filled with computers and expensive furniture and painting to underline his amassed wealth as a Wall Street player. Later on, the plot builds to the climax through depicting the showdown between Gekko and Bud. Bud ensures that Gekko loses Bluestar to his rival Sir Lawrence Wildman (Terence Stamp). Gekko takes revenge and whistles to the police about Bud's insider trading activities. The resolution of the story says that it does not help to treat people as means to an end only. To highlight the composition and implications of the capitalist system, Stone employed both standard and non-standard editing styles. He used standard editing to show the continuity of human greed. Stone employed dissolves to establish the setting of the film, where workers are shown first and then the skyscrapers. The dissolve transitions illustrate the illusion of material wealth and how it affects workers, the main developer of capital growth. Stone also employed a long shot to establish the setting of stockbrokers in Jackson Steinem & Co., a local Wall Street stock and trading firm. Young and old stockbrokers are talking about companies and hinting on their long-standing careers that may or may lead to financial success or not. In addition, the capitalist system teaches people to pursue materialistic goals, but they still have a choice, if they want to change the system from within. Stone uses cut-in and cut-away to demonstrate that despite people who are jam-packed in the elevator, as they are also packed into the capitalist system, they remain isolated from each other. They are isolated because of their individual goals. In addition, Stone also used deviations in editing to emphasize the theme of human greed. For instance, he used a montage to depict the differences in how Gekko treats Bud. In his office, cut-in, cut-away editing emphasized their differences in personality and social status. After investing in Bluestar and profiting for it, they meet in the restaurant and Stone uses the shot to both show them together. This time, they are “equals,” because of their parallels in human greed. The film also showed that the individual can reinforce the excesses of the capitalist systems, in terms of pursuing relentless profit growth. The individual becomes a product and creator of the capitalist system. People like Bud become products of greed. Bud idolizes Gekko, because the latter makes tens of millions in his deals. He tells his father that there is no “ ...Show more
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Summary

The capitalist system and human greed in Wall Street (1987) Name University 28 November 2011 The Capitalist System and Human Greed Which came first, human greed or the capitalist system? Wall Street (1987), directed by Oliver Stone, showed that human greed and the capitalist system made and strengthened each other…
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