The Wolf of Wall Street
Warning: Contains Adult Language and suggestive dialogue. Parental Discretion is advised
The Wolf of Wall Street
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: Terence Winter, Jordan Belfort
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jean Dujardin, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Joanna Lumley, Cristin Milioti, Christine Ebersole, Shea Whigham, Katarina Cas, P.J. Byrne
Synopsis: Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence
Jordan Belfort's interview on CNN
The evils of capitalism continues....
Throughout the years, we've seen many movies portraying the corrupt side of Wall Street. Many depicting the greedy nature of it. While others can sometimes show audiences how even the tiniest mistake in the Wall Street dealings could affect the entire economy. However, this particular story seems to focus on the self destructive nature of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a man who manipulated various investors with his "pump and dump" penny stock scheme.
Based on a real life story, Jordan Belfort is an up and coming stockbroker aching to make a name for himself in the stock market. The name of the game to make it big as a Wall Street stockbroker? Make as much money as you can. Any way you can. Sure, you might have to swindle a bunch of faceless fools to get rich quick, but that's not your problem. No, your only problem is keeping those faceless clients constantly investing in whatever stocks you sell them. It's not your problem if they lose any money over it, right?
Such is the dilemma of capitalism, as we live in a world where greed can easily override our common sense of decency. Even leading us down the path of self destruction, and despair. To be fair, "The Wolf of Wall Street" isn't the first movie to cover this topic, but it's certainly one of the more interesting films that talks about it.
Anyway, as luck would have it, Jordan Belfort finds himself unemployed after getting his first stockbroker job, but soon finds himself in a rather opportunistic position when he becomes a stockbroker over penny stock accounts. Unlike the regular stocks he was used to dealing with at his old firm, where he only got a measly one percent commission on each sale, the penny stocks would pay him up to fifty percent. Needless to say, Jordan Belfort takes advantage of the opportunity to sucker people out of their money. Each customer dreaming of getting rich quick with their investments, while Jordan merely told them exactly what they needed to hear.
From here, it doesn't take long for Jordan to teach the other penny stock brokers to sale like he does to more richer clientele. Conning various businessmen out of their money, as they lure them in by selling them stock they may already be familiar with to begin with like Disney and etc. But after they gain the client's trust, that's when they unload the dog s***. The worthless penny stock nobody wants, but somehow Jordan and his new firm are able to con them into buying them up anyway.
Sure, one can question the moral implications of their actions, but in the fast pace world of stockbroking, it's just business as usual. After Jordan becomes a successful stockbroker in his newly established firm, it doesn't take long for us to see his path spiral towards his own personal destruction. Getting involved in various stockbroking scandals that gain the attention of the FBI, while soliciting illegal drugs and sex. Leaving his first wife for a younger girl, whom he was having a sleazy affair with; only to end up cheating on her as well with various other sleazy girls, whom he solicited sex from.
Sure, to most people, this kind of vile behavior would be enough to make anyone conflicted about the nature of their actions, yet Jordan treats it like it's just another day at the office. It's through this story, Martin Scorsese takes us into the fast paced world of business, where you either sink, or swim; where only the strong survive, and weak perish.
(Warning: Possible spoilers in this paragraph) Unfortunately, due to a series of events, the FBI starts to hound on him even more for his illegal stockbroking practices, while his personal life begins to fall apart due to his drug addiction. Over time, we see Jordan rise to power, and we even see him fall. It's an all too common tale in most movies, but does he learn anything from his tragic experience? To be fair, it's been said by the real life, Jordan Belfort, that he does regret his actions even to this day. And, I wouldn't doubt it, but when we watch the film itself, it doesn't seem like character ever does. Sure, he's sorry because he got caught, but you never get the sense that he's sorry for his actions, as he carries on like it's business as usual. Again, I'm merely referring to the character, and not the actual person.
While I hesitate to say this is Leonardo DiCaprio's best performance, I will say that it's arguably one of his more entertaining ones. Bringing a sense of cynicism, comedy, swagger and drama to the part, Leonardo's acting definitely brings in a command performance worthy of an Oscar nomination. As for his other nominated co star, Jonah Hill, I can see why he was nominated for this part. For those who think Jonah lacks any kind of dramatic range based on his comedies, then I would kindly advise you to check out his performance in this role, as he definitely shows that he can pull off comedy and drama quite well; even if he has to do it in the same movie like we see in this one.
As for the other actors in this film, I thought everyone played their parts rather well. The transitions between scenes was fluent, and the soundtrack matched the tone of the movie perfectly.
The only major gripe that I would have about this film is that the pacing seems a bit slower than it actually should be, as some of the scenes tend to drag their feet at times. However, other than that, I have to say "The Wolf of Wall Street" is a delightfully entertaining movie. Definitely worth checking out in theaters with a rating of three and a half out of four.
© 2014 Steven Escareno