Interesting it was. I was fascinated by this movie, especially because we were watching it on Christmas, a day when we remember the gift of Christ and think about how often we put money and greed first, focusing on materialism rather than faithfulness to a Gospel that calls us to give love. This movie focuses on greed and its corrupting power.
What makes this movie so interesting is that it hits so close to home with the recent financial crisis. Had this movie been made five years ago, I'm not sure I would have been so amazed by it. But the reality of what is portrayed is scary--in summary, Wall Street is on the verge of collapse because many of the investment banks have become so corrupted by greed that they fail to have any fiscally responsible policies and are simply betting billions (trillions?) against bad loans they're making.
I think what sums up the prevailing attitude best is when Shia Lebeouf asks the head of a firm what his number is, the amount it would take to get him to walk away from it all. The answer?
Sends a shudder up my spine just to type it. It's easy to vilify investment bankers, especially those whose failures ended up causing a global economic meltdown.
But where does greed reign in my life?
What do I constantly want more of?
What am I unwilling to give up for the sake of Christ?
Greed is so corrupting. The main conflict in the movie is how Shia Lebeouf's greed corrupts him and his relationship with his fiancee, Michael Douglas' daughter. (It's just fun to watch Michael Douglas act--he is so talented) How much is one willing to sacrifice to be financially successful? How much money do we truly need? What are we willing to do, who are we willing to hurt to get it?
Money is the root of all evil, 1 Timothy tells us. Money itself isn't evil--but the desire for more and more of it will corrupt our very soul. This movie is a great warning about what that looks like on the small scale, and it helps me examine my own thoughts and feelings about money, a subject Christ talked about very often, and yet one we in the church manage to avoid with frightening success.