Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hollywood's Take on David Rubenstein as Evildoer

In the middle of a pretty hectic few days, I managed to slip off for a couple of hours to catch the movie, The Taking of Pelham 123. The film is a remake of the 1974 thriller that starred Walter Mathau.

The remake has received only mediocre reviews, but I don't know what critics could have possibly been expecting. The film is a first class action thriller starring two of the best current day actors, Denzel Washington and John Travolta. The film, if nothing else, provides an opportunity to watch these two master actors at work. Travolta can pull off a mean bad guy like no one else.

And, it is fun to watch James Gandolfini in a supporting role as Mayor of New Yory City. He tones down his Anthony Soprano character just enough to make a very believable Mayor.

The script is a tight, action script with a few good one liners.

A surprise for anyone following Wall Street is the profile the police eventually pull up on the Travolta character. It turns out he is a former Private Equity partner who stole $20 million from a New York City pension fund and spent time in jail for the theft. While the facts don't completely fit the profile of Carlyle Group president David Rubenstein, it clearly is close enough that one is left to think that some of the details were changed to protect from a Rubenstein lawsuit.

Rubenstein, of course, hasn't spent anytime in jail, but he is a PE partner at Carlyle, and Carlyle did have a small problem in the way they acquired access to some New York City pension fund money (They ended up paying a fine to make it go away).

It's clear some Hollywood writers are paying attention to Wall Street and they know who the bad guys are.

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