Synopsis: Based on Jordan Belfort‘s story, Leonardo Dicaprio plays the sly and clever stockbroker from his first days to his retirement. Over the years, Belfort sinks into a spiral of extreme debauchery and finds himself being chased down by the FBI.
Cast: Leonardo Dicaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey.
This film defines entertainment. I was in stitches from laughing for so long, my jaw dropped when I saw the runtime had been, in fact, 3 hours! I hadn’t noticed the time had flown by so quickly! A big round of applause is well-deserved for Leo and his co-star, Jonah. Not in a million years would I have even dreamt they would do, erm, all the things they did.
The film follows the journey of a young stockbroker’s ambition to make it in Wall street. However, he quickly realises it “swallows you up and s**** you back out again”. But this doesn’t stop him, oh no… Instead, he moves to Long Island and starts his own stock business in the back of a garage, having being “trained” by one of Wall Streets finest, Mark Hanna-I say “trained” in quotes because, while Mark did offer stock tips, his ” two keys for success” were a bit…dubious and it became to be Jordan’s ultimate downfall.; being addicted to drugs and sex. Eventually, he ends up taking a sort of “revenge” on Wall Street with his business, Stratton Oakmont, hence the “wolf” tabloid name.
Belfort used penny stocks where he started selling them to the rich- all illegally of course- “A twisted robin hood” so eloquently put by Forbes magazine. To a degree, I’m quite impressed at their level of psychological understanding of the general population. The way they never put the phone down or always let the customer speak first when presenting a deal…I’m not sure if it’s clever or just sick. His wife had the heart to beg him to sell garbage to the rich because they can afford it, than to the poor. But he twisted that round, doing it for the wrong reason: because the rich, well, had more money. I guess it’s true when they say behind every successful man, is a woman. Although, said woman does end up being cheated on and he leaves her within 3 days for another…who, in the end, divorces Belfort. I think it’s safe to say that corruption and drugs cannot maintain a healthy family.
The majority of the film is spent exercising the debauchery of his life. Extraordinarily funny, it almost seemed to be a sequel from American Pie. Apparently, the reason Leo couldn’t get funding for the film for a long time was due to it being heavily R-rated! Also, I’m not sure if these were supposed to be mocking, but I found it quite comedic to hear phrases such as “Deal with your problems by becoming rich” or referring to stockbrokers as the masters of the universe and calling the 1% of America “Moby-Dick”. But that’s because I have certain beliefs while other people may agree with Jordan Belfort. I also thoroughly enjoyed the little insert-clips of mini adverts. That was pure creative genius.
Additionally, once you get past the 506 F-bombs and the wtf?! moments of the movie, it is actually a real eye-opener into the co-operate world. Definitely not watered-down, I would say this is probably the most honest film I have seen about business; the shady, not-quite-so-legal proceedings, the lies, the manipulation, as well as the heartbreak and depression that comes along with it. In the beginning, I was thinking “My god, do they actually laugh at us behind the phone?” and my already-strong dislike for salesmen grew more intense. But towards the end, you start to see that, this film isn’t mocking the gullibility of the general population (although thank you for making it glaringly obvious) but pointing out how unhappy someone of these guys actually are. Since first starting Stratton Oakmont, for about 5 years he was having the best time of his life, beautiful wife, friends, the money, the publicity, the parties…until the law caught up on him . Then he spends the rest of the time evading the FBI and fighting with his wife and eventually goes to prison. Actually, he even came close to having a psychotic meltdown. Was the short-term bliss worth the long-term sorrow after? Now, would the perks of Jordan’s life be possible if everything was done legally? Yes. But it would’ve taken a lot of effort and a lot of time to get there. It’s all about choice.
There was one problem I had with the film: wasn’t it supposed to take place in the 80’s? Other than one or two soundtracks and Belfort’s wife’s hairstyle, I was having trouble believing this took place anywhere other than the 21st Century. Apart from their slightly error of time, I would say some explicit scenes were just a bit too much? Well, it is R-rated and you could always just skip the scenes if you are watching at home…but still.
Ultimately, the movie had the potential to go sideways but the cast was what really sealed the brilliance of the film and I really loved the exposé-of-co-operate-business feeling it had to it. I have never seen a comedy film that I have thought was in deserve of an Oscar award, let alone one about stocks, but this movie was one hell of a roller-coaster. There was never a moment that bored me!
Verdict: 9 of 10 kicks
What did you guys think? 🙂