The Wolf of Wall Street has so far gathered one Golden Globe and a tidy little pile of nominations and awards. It is in the running for four Oscar statues. My hopes could not be higher for Martin Scorsese’s new epic. Thankfully, my hopes were met with copious amounts of alcohol.
Jordan Belfort’s real life already inspired the movie Boiler Room (2000) according to Wikipedia. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Scorsese’s version of course. We begin the story when he’s hired as a stockbroker at Rothschild in 1987. When the firm goes broke on Black Monday, Jordan has to go sell penny stocks for chump change – only he’s really, really good at it. Soon, he and his buddy Donnie (Jonah Hill) are making more money than they can spend – except they do spend it, on drugs, alcohol and women. Their enterprise soon attracts the FBI.
This is a Martin Scorsese movie, so of course it is going to be amazing and epic, no matter which genre it’s in. The movie is incredibly flashy and well-made, like one of Jordan’s tailored suits. At times I almost forgot that the movie was set in the late 80s, because I was several times put in a Mad Men sort of mentality. But everything is perfectly placed to suit the times, and it just looks great. In terms of historical accuracy in the plot, I think we can safely say some things must have been exaggerated, but who really cares?
Jordan gets compared to Gordon Gekko, which he is, sort of. He might be Gekko’s drugged-up, not-as-smart younger brother. He’s really good at making money, but he is much more concerned with the quick, big bucks than creating a lasting business empire. His version of “greed is good” is that “money will make you good,” the meaning being that with enough money you can be the good samaritan without much effort. Everything can be bought, that is the American dream after-all, and these guys aren’t giving it up until the police come knocking. And even though these are bad, horrible people, we do not want the police to knock at all.
Leonardo DiCaprio has been snubbed at the Oscars for long enough. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they managed to do it again, but seriously: he has the rich asshole role down to an art. Just let him have the damn thing.
The other actors all do a fantastic job. Jonah Hill has transformed into a serious actor while I blinked. Matthew McConaughey had a far too short role for a three hour movie.
Yes, you read that correctly. It is a three hour party, and I admit sometimes I wondered if I could keep up with the boys. But as long as you know what you’re sitting down to, I highly doubt this is much of a problem.
The best thing about The Wolf of Wall Street is its complete lack of moral message, or psychological profile. We get no deep insight into the mind of a greedy bastard, and we aren’t left with a feeling of comeuppance. It is more an experiment to see how long Jordan Belfort’s body could last. His fall is inevitable, but the ride down is worth it, for us.
Dice roll: 5
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