There is no shortage of movies portraying a life of excess and debauchery, but few do it as intelligently and believably as Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Sure, the movie has that baby-faced Leonardo DiCaprio in it, but, finally, I can appreciate his skill as an actor.
Last year was one of the best years I’ve had as a cinema-frequenting movie reviewer. I was thoroughly entertained by many flicks that helped restore my faith in some of Hollywood’s creative abilities. This year is off to a great start with Robocop and The Wolf of Wall Street, (and the imminent Lego movie), and I do hope this will hold true for the big-screen entertainment scheduled for the rest of this year.
If I had to sum up The Wolf of Wall Street in three words, those words would be drugs, sex, and excess. Perhaps I felt so inspired by this movie because I am a degenerate myself and excess is my attempt at moderation. I’ve now seen The Wolf of Wall Street twice, and I may see it a few times more—that is how much I enjoy this masterpiece of a movie!
The movie follows Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), a young and intrepid stockbroker who gets a rude awakening on his first go at Wall Street. After seeing some of the ‘behind the scenes’ magic that allows stockbrokers to get obscenely wealthy, he becomes a fresh casualty of a market crash.
Out on his ass with a wife at home, he decides tries to take what he learned from the wolves at his former employer to sell penny stocks in an attempt to make a living. His passion, charisma, and skill soon distinguish him and start attracting huge figure paychecks to him.
Jordan decides to start his own company and teams up with Donny Azoff (portrayed by Jonah Hill) and a few of his ‘mates’ from the hood. In a short amount of time, they revolutionize the market and start selling penny stocks to wealthy clients (something unheard of before). Jordan and co become obscenely wealthy and spend their fortunes banging hookers, doing drugs, and creating nefarious opportunities for themselves to get even richer.
But like Icarus, just at the height of their high, the feathers started coming off. Notoriety of Jordan’s business practices began to spread and attracted the attention of a lone-ranger-type FBI agent who decides to make Jordan Belford his ticket to becoming ‘the office hero cop.’ As one legal shitstorm after another, compounded by one personal tragedy after another, start taking their toll on Jordan, his business, his second wife (the first one discarded to get in bed with her supermodel replacement ), his life starts pointing in the direction of tragedy.
To say more about the plot of the film would rob the viewer of the astounding revelations that make watching The Wolf of Wall Street so entertaining.
What I took away from the film was, perhaps, counter to the intended message (a warning against depravity, shady business deals, adultery, and so on); I felt inspired. And, frankly, if this movie does not inspire one to take some chances with their life in the hopes of making it to the top of the corporate shit heap, then one does not have the capacity for inspiration.
One of my favourite lines in the movie (spoken by Jordan himself) was his immaculate defense of his way of life: “There’s no nobility in poverty. I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor, and I choose rich every time. At least as a rich man, when I have to face my problems, I can show up in the back of a stretch limousine, wearing a two-thousand-dollar suit and a twenty-thousand-dollar gold watch! And, believe me, arriving in style makes your problems a helluva lot easier to deal with [....] if anyone here thinks I’m crazy or you don’t feel exactly like I do, then get the **** out of this room right now! That’s right—get the fuck out of my boardroom and go get a job at McDonald’s flipping burgers, because that’s where you belong!”
Flawless recital! I’m convinced! But there are even better gems to be found in the book that inspired the movie. Here’s one such gem of wisdom for those smug fools who think that being materialistic and money-obsessed is ‘WRONG!’
“It’s always those same people who are the first to spew out their worthless advice—it’s always the paupers, who sling around that ridiculous line of bullshit about how money is the root of all evil and about how money corrupts.” – Jordan Belford
I’ll add one of my own: I’ll take the suitcase full of money; you take your ethics and **** off!
By the way, the book and the movie are based on the ‘true’ story of Jordan Belford. The real Jordan Belford also makes a cameo appearance in the film.
The Wolf of Wall Street bypassed my usual Omni-present criticism whenever I enter a cinema and whispered into my ear seductive words beckoning me to intensify my (by comparison) restrained life. I felt inspired, and glad that I am in exactly the sort of economic environment where that sort of wealth is a tangible reality for those willing to grasp at it. To anyone who is still young and maybe a tad burned out with their career, or anyone who wants some fresh inspiration on how to move forward, I highly recommend you go watch The Wolf of Wall Street!
A definitive two thumbs up! This movie has it all, style, panache, naked babes, and incredible acting by Leonardo DiCaprio, whom I once wrote off as nothing more than ‘a face girls find pretty.’ The only way to make this movie even better is to smuggle some booze into the cinema, and I’ve not had this much fun drinking in a theatre and watching a movie since I sloshed out on Craft beer and The World’s End, last year.
Beats my chest rhythmically whilst humming a profound tune (you’ll get what I on about once you see the movie).
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