The Wolf of Wall Street is the product of Martin Scorsese’s work. The genre of this film is a comedy with a great amount of black humor. The main character is played by Leonardo DiCaprio, which constitutes the main advantage of this movie. His name is Jordan Belfort, and he is a millionaire stockbroker who built his own corporation named Stratton Oakmont. From the beginning of the movie, he is telling a story about how he started to work as a stockbroker at one of the firms of Wall Street, and how he gradually achieved his biggest goal and became rich.
The events are taking place in the 1990s in New York. The whole story is based on the book of real Jordan Belfort, a former stockbroker, who was convicted for fraud and money laundering. At that time, corruption and financial crimes were very common, and this movie has a historical value for today’s American society. Critics did not express negative emotions concerning this film, but there were a lot of contradictory opinions concerning its moral ambiguity and redundant presence of sex and drugs throughout the picture. On the one hand, it is a story about investment banking at Wall Street. However, on the other hand, it is not about banking at all (Allen, 2014). The whole movie is more about how badly a person can be changed by money and power. After living several years in heaven on Earth, Jordan experienced a big fall in his career and family relationships. All that happened because of the dissolute style of life he was living.
The first thing that catches the attention at the beginning of the movie is the comic way of narrating the story. From the very beginning, the viewer can notice that the main character has no problems with confidence and self- sufficiency. Jordan Belfort tells his story with pride and humor. He knows that public loves him and is convinced that he can do anything. That is why he starts from the moment when he decided to find a job of a stockbroker.
The interesting thing that caught Jordan’s attention when he first came to the firm at Wall Street was chaos that reigned in the office. The most vivid characteristic of all the stockbrokers was overuse of the four letter word and extremely noisy behavior. At that moment, Jordan Belfort was a completely different person. Nevertheless, after having a dinner with his new boss, he sees that in order to succeed in work his whole lifestyle has to be changed. It is not surprising that he was advised to adopt a sex, alcohol, and cocaine lifestyle, because it was very common for successful businessmen at that time.
When he starts to overuse alcohol and drugs, cheat on his beautiful wife, and follow all that flashy lifestyle, the viewer begins to understand that in this movie the main character in not a good guy. Actually, with the progressing of the plot, Jordan Belfort becomes more and more repugnant for the viewer.
A lot of aspects of this film seem completely unrealistic and sometimes exaggerated. For example, every single shot with DiCaprio is extremely theatrical. People do not behave that way in the real life. Jordan, being the brightest example of ostentation, always presents himself as a very spoiled and vain person who is obsessed with his wealth and influence. When he first meets his neighbor Donnie Azoff, he does not feel constrained to tell the complete stranger how much money he makes. That moment reveals his aptitude to boasting to everyone.
Jordan is very proud of himself because he understands that not everybody can achieve such heights using only one’s talent. Usually, people become rich and successful thanks to their wealthy relatives or acquaintances. In the case of Jordan Belfort, however, the guy became rich exclusively by his own. He did not inherit all that wealth, he created it from nothing.
The movie caused the audience a lot of negative emotions. In particular, it was criticized by people with disabilities. The latter were offended by script writers who laughed at such a serious disease as cerebral palsy. In one of the scenes when Jordan takes drugs, he describes their effects on him as reaching the “cerebral palsy phase.” Such mockery was very offensive to people with disabilities. Along with this moment, the movie contains a lot of information which affects different audiences (Pulver, 2014).
If, in the beginning, Jordan Belfort refuses to drink alcohol at dinner, in the end, he cannot imagine his life without consuming it. When he sits in front of his house wearing police bracelet on his ankle, he tells Donnie that being sober is boring. He misses cocaine and alcohol as well as his dissolute life. The movie distorts the normal image of life. Being rich and powerful, people forget how to be poor and weak. That is what happened to Jordan – he got used to wealth and could not give it up. He got addicted to drugs, and did not notice how his wife became estranged.
The title of the movie was not given by chance. I think it completely characterizes the type of a person that Belfort became. His eloquence and persuasiveness helped him earn enough money to start his own company. Then, his persistence let him extend his company and turn it into a large multi-million corporation. He is like an animal that is able to eat everyone on his way to success. Nevertheless, in the end, the hunter caught the wolf and sent him to prison for his criminal activities.
Jordan Belfort said that no one could judge him for his love to money. He claimed that “everyone wants to be rich,” and at some point, he was right. Every person on a planet, who is not already rich, wants to become rich one day. Almost everyone wants to be famous and successful as well. The incredible wealth Jordan Belfort had was achieved by means of fraud and money laundering.
It is surprisingly outrageous how spoiled all the characters of this movie are. Jordan Belfort would not become such an anti-moralist but for the people who surrounded him. At first, the boss at a brokers firm on Wall Street tried to persuade Jordan that drugs and alcohol were the usual things for a successful banker. Then, Donnie brought some extra powerful pills. Everyone in New York and outside it supported the idea that if a person was rich, he was unstoppable.
One of the interesting moments in the movie is the mental conversation between Jordan and the banker from Switzerland. At first sight, it seems that everything goes perfectly, but when Jordan asks about business, Swiss banker tells him that it is not very polite to skip a 10 minutes little chat before starting to discuss business. Both of them knew what kind of people they were, and both of them understood each other without words. Jordan needed to know whether his millions would be safe from the U.S. government in the Swiss bank. The banker, in turn, knew what he needed since the first time he saw Jordan.
In this movie, people of low moral principles are the luckiest ones of all. When the federal agent comes to visit Jordan and asks him some questions, Jordan behaves as if he does nothing wrong. The phrases “we do not do anything illegal, whatsoever” and “I’ve got nothing to hide” only pushes the FBI agent to more suspicions, because he sees that Jordan only tries to out-talk him and justify himself. The federal agent calls Belfort “little man” and that becomes the last drop in Jordan’s patience. That remark mortified his pride because no one has ever called him that way. At the end of their conversation, Jordan throws lobsters at two agents and tries to humiliate them saying that they cannot afford such luxuries.
Several months after the wedding, Jordan’s wife Naomi starts suspecting him in cheating. Moreover, she does not really approve his drug addiction. There is a very emotional scene when Naomi hurls three glasses of water into Jordan in order to teach him a lesson. However, neither is Naomi so holy. She was Jordan’s mistress and ruined his marriage with his first wife. Most probably, she married him because of his fortune. Naomi belongs to that type of women who never work in their lives and financially depend on their husbands.
Nevertheless, Naomi is not the worst person in this whole story. Somehow, in this dirty world of investment and brokering, there was a place for friendship. Jordan Belfort, despite all his sins, appreciated his friendship with Donnie. At the moment when he came to talk to Donnie wearing a wire, he did not want to betray their friendship and to set him up before the FBI. That is why he wrote a note which warned Donnie of incriminating himself. That was an unexpected thing the main character did. The more surprising was for Jordan to find out that Donnie showed his note to the federals. That was the end of everything for Belfort, because federal agents sent him to prison for money laundering and fraud. They arrested every stockbroker in the company except Donnie Azoff.
It was surprising to see that Jordan Belfort had some moral principles left in his corrupt and twisted conscience. The way he treated Donnie and the rest of the friends, who were the first brokers of Stratton Oakmont, was extremely honest. They organized drunken parties together, took drugs, and lived their lives to the fullest; and in the morning, they were fresh again and ready to make another million dollars.
Billions of dollars were being made by their company monthly, and they never wanted to stop. One of the touching moments was when Jordan planned to leave the company and made his last speech to his numerous employees. However, he changed his mind in the process, because he saw that all those people believed in him. Jordan always said to them “never take NO for an answer,” and eventually, he refused to leave his place. There is something about Jordan Belfort that attracted people and made them follow his lead.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a risky step of Martin Scorsese because of its unusual straightforwardness. The extent to which this movie is outrageous and anti-moral is huge. At the same time, the plot is developed perfectly; the story comes to its logical end, and begins again. Jordan realizes that he lives in the world where everything can be bought. That is why prison is not an obstacle to him. He is rich, which means he is unstoppable.
This movie argues about the fact that money turns people into vain and spoiled creatures. Every person wants to be rich, but not every person can handle it. Jordan Belfort had so much money and he did not know what to do with. He bought flashy cars, expensive mansions, and huge yachts. He consumed expensive drinks and wore luxurious suites. His main problem was that he knew no limits. All people are weak when it comes to money. People are driven by greed and itch for money, and that greed ruins their personality.
Jordan Belfort was the men with a bright future. He had an incredible power of persuasiveness. Every client he called believed in his honesty in spite of never meeting him in a real life. Not every person is granted such a talent. The Wolf of Wall Street certainly teaches its audience a lesson. There is a lot to get out of this story for everyone. However, the way this movie is shot can push off many potential viewers. Whatever the critics might say, this movie is certainly worth watching.
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