The Wolf of Wall Street is the latest collaboration between Martin Scorcese and Leo Di Caprio. It is a lot of fun.
Di Caprio plays Jordan Belfort, who builds himself up from humble beginnings to a position as one of the most powerful men on Wall Street. He doesn't do it entirely legally, though, and soon comes under the spotlight of FBI agent, Patrick Denham.
Most of the movie is concerned with showing the decadent lifestyle of
and his group of
cronies that he accrues on his journey to the top. Belfort
We don't need either
who narrates, or Scorcese, who directs, to tell us how over the top, how
obscene, the way of life of Wall Street traders was in the eighties and
There is no overt commentary on the amorality of the lifestyle, there doesn't need to be. We are simply shown the excess, the hookers, the mounds and mounds of drugs, the unending supply of cash and the bizarre, irresponsible behaviour, and allowed to make our own minds up.
The spirit of the times is captured perfectly, the "Greed is good" mantra of the bond traders of these unimaginable decades. We see the groupthink of the employees in the Stratton Oakmont offices, all united in their obsessive frenzy to get rich. Staff meetings are addressed by
Belfort, and turn into a kind of rally, their leader in chief
whipping his minions into a mania for selling and making cash. Nuremberg
And it is a tremendous amount of fun. From the first frame it plays the situation for laughs. Jonah Hill, who plays Donny,
's partner in crime, spends the whole
movie with a set of comedy false teeth in. Donny, of course, is famed for being
married to his cousin. Belfort
Jordan Belfort is basically a nineteen eighties/ nineties version of Leo Di Caprio's last role, as The Great Gatsby. He is a dreamer, like Gatsby, self-destructive, utterly self-absorbed, with a single-minded obsession to make piles and piles and piles of cash.
"Strattan Oakmont is
." This is America 's line in the
middle of this movie, and it is not accidental. The name of the company is
pulled out of the air by Belfort ,
it has no connection to him or anyone who works there, it is simply
WASP-sounding enough to gain them the respect that they need to survive in the
bond trading jungle. Belfort
It is the definition of self-invention. There is nothing real about either the profession, or
made up company, and yet precisely because of their lack of substance, they are
a raging success. Belfort
The whole enterprise is built on sand. They start off by selling worthless penny stocks to Joe Schmos who don't know any better, and build up into insider trading and money laundering. It is the ugly side of American capitalism where anything goes as long as it makes money.
Like Goodfellas, there is a prominent voice-over, as
narrates his rise and fall, with a
certain wry cynicism. Di Caprio takes over the role, and gives us a real
genuinely cares about the people around him, inasmuch as he is capable of
doing, yet he constantly lets down his wives, partners and children in his mad
obsession for making money, taking drugs and living life to the full. Belfort