The villain in Wall Street 2 is moral hazard in the form of Goldman Sachs.We heard the lead bank in the movie was going to be based off Goldman and named Churchill Schwartz, but we were not expecting Stone’s digs at the firm to be so obvious.
First, there’s Josh Brolin, playing the head of Churchill Schwartz, Bretton Woods, telling the Fed which firm to not bail out and how to do it.
Then, Woods tells the “Bud Fox” type, Shia LeBeouf, that his mentor is “Clarke, in Treasury. He’s been a good friend to us in this crisis.”
Of course that’s a reference to Hank Paulson in Treasury, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs and conceivably Lloyd Blankfein‘s mentor. And through it, Woods rubs salt in the wounds of everyone sitting in the audience.
Goldmanites will be sore because they’ve defended themselves and said they deserved to be paid what they were owed. And everyone else who didn’t get their sweet deal (receiving 100 cents on the dollar of everything it was owed from other banks which also had to be bailed out) will remember how jealous and angry they were when Goldman was hooked up.
There’s another reference to Goldman when Gekko says he’s no villain compared to Churchill Schwartz. Gekko idolizes the evil Goldman? Ouch.
And another when the movie references the SEC’s charges against Goldman. Gekko says confidently that Churchill Schwartz knew they were creating the same bubble that they were betting against and did it on purpose.
One of the movie’s biggest failures is that for all this talk about how evil Churchill Schwartz is, we never get to see anyone from CS being truly evil in action. (Woods is a douche, but he just rips off Winnie Gekko, who is the lamest character in the movie. Not to mention that the money Woods stole from Winnie Gekko wasn’t even hers, it was dirty Gordon Gekko money, and if he hadn’t stolen it, it was only going to end up down the toilet invested in “young Bud Fox”‘s cock-brained idea.)
So all we end up seeing are people talking about how bad Churchill Schwartz is – not why or how it’s actually evil. Strangely poignant, eh?