"The Wolf of Wall Street": the Box Office hit that critics tend to hate!
Did you like the movie?
"Sell me this pen"
In a world where everything is for sale, Jordan Belfort knew how to sell. This movie is based on his true story. An ambitious young stockbroker loses his job after "Black Monday" and creates his own company, gaining a lot of money by stock frauds. His company's status keeps growing, and soon catches the FBI's attention.
"You show me a pay stub for 72,000 US dollars, I quit my job right now and work for you!"
This is not your usual rise and fall story. The “bad guys” don’t become social outcasts. There are no heroes to restore the long lost social justice; only underpaid civil servants who take a tube ride home after a hard day’s work.
The “land of opportunity” is hosting an endless frat party for middle-aged stock brokers, whose money can buy them anything. And the “Wolf” himself (DiCaprio), like a “twisted Robin Hood” steals from the rich and offers to his (not so poor) employees an obscene life style. The audience sits through an endless hilarious sequence of shamelessly crude scenes, in a world where too much is never enough.
"On a daily basis I consume enough drugs to sedate Manhattan, Long Island and Queens for a month!"
Jordan Belfort soon starts organizing somehow unconventional company events for his employees to celebrate his firm's continuous success. At one point he celebrates a big sale by inviting a marching band and a big group of prostitutes to the office. He also pays a female sales assistant 10,000 dollars to shave her head at a party. His close friends and he never run out of crazy ideas. That's how a group of brokers end up playing a game where they throw little people onto a board placed in the company's offices!
"So, what's the point?", you may ask. Is this film condoning debauchery? Or is it just helplessly pessimistic, mourning about the loss of fairness and the hope for a better world?
In fact, many critics accuse the film of praising greed and glorifying Belford's obscene lifestyle. Others are annoyed because it doesn't focus on one of the main issues, which is that the "Wolf" made his fortune defrauding small-time investors for years and basically stealing their savings. Finally, most of the critics comment on how unlikable and alienating the main character gradually becomes.
But, what if that's the point? It is without doubt that Jordan Belford slowly becomes unlikable and his narration becomes uninteresting. What if the point is that after watching "The Wolf of Wall Street", you cannot possibly consider it to be a film about living life to the full? What if this realization ultimately leads to the audience's personal moral victory?
Leonardo DiCaprio is living the "american dream"
The director (Scorsese) guides us brilliantly through this exhilarating, over the top ‘capitalism experience’. For almost 3 hours, the audience laughs its heads off, secretly enjoying watching the loss of commonplace human decency and good taste. Until it all becomes a bit boring.
It is without the slightest trace of moralistic or cautionary clichés that the film puts the whole capitalistic dream under doubt. Piles of money become part of the décor, worthless coupons, too many to hide, that have already got you anything that has a price. That is, not only fancy cars, unsafe sex, collectors drugs, colossal houses, luxury yachts and trophy wives, but also human dignity, world wide admiration and the ability to be above the law. At least until the “boy scout” FBI agent hunts the Wolf down.
And then there was nothing left to buy...
The Wolf Survives
End of story?
Not really. Against all odds, to the point that it becomes symbolic, the Wolf survives.
He gets through helicopter crashes, car crashes and shipwrecks untouchable. Alcohol, STDs and drugs seem to have no long term effect on him. Even prison does not affect him.
And it all continues. No one is innocent. That's probably what makes us stop laughing at the end of the film. And we go back to our ordinary lives, comforted, but secretly thinking if we would have accepted a million dollar bribe.