What a twisted, crazy world I entered through this movie. It’s crazy to think that it’s true because it comes across as some insane fictional piece in a parallel universe; instead, it is here in America and only a few years old. So much controversy has surrounded this film that it is easy to think that the men working behind it were happy with the story but this goes more under the microscope as a story that they were interested in and needed to be told. And to be quite honest, I don’t know if anyone could tell it as well as Martin Scorsese did.
The Wolf of Wall Street follows the exploits of Wall Street man Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) who cons his way to the top by stealing from the poor as if they were the rich. With the help of Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), Belfort sets up a faux company and begins to take over Wall Street and makes boatloads of money. If you were told by someone that this is the movie about cocaine and hookers than you are in the right place but there was so much more this work than just explicit scenes of sex and drugs.
Scorsese crafts this world that seems surreal and made up but injects reality into it like one of the drugs that Belfort is shooting himself up with. We watch as this man goes from a newly married, Wall Street broker wannabe to small town broker to owning his own “company” to king of the world through the course of the film. Too bad for Belfort though, his king of the world status doesn’t last too long and fall is a hard one.
Much criticism has come from people saying that Scorsese has glorified these men and their antics but while I watched it I found it to be far from that. These men are scumbags to the highest degree. It is one of those instances where you should be smart enough to realize this is behavior you shouldn’t be mimicking. It is easy to just go into this film like a child and realize “hey, you know what? I shouldn’t be doing that stuff because these men are awful people.”
DiCaprio pulls off the scumbag person best of all. He is vile in everything he does and has this sense of purpose and self-worth as he does it. He doesn’t think he is all bad but he is. From paying an employee to shave off her hair for $10,000 to dragging his family and friends through a hurricane in order to get to Switzerland to save his money, his goal is always his own protection. But even before that, it is to make as much money as possible.
This comes to truth when he is about to step down in order to save him and his family from being in trouble with the government and he looks into the sea of brokers that he has created. These people look up to him. He has pulled them out of the woodwork and saved their lives but at what cost? They all are screwed a few scenes later when Agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) and the FBI come through the door but in that moment, they are looking at a hero.
Scorsese isn’t showing us why we should become a part of this frat-like culture that these people are a part of, he is showing us how completely messed up they are and how these crooks finally got what they deserved. I agree that it is a polarizing movie that may take time for people to finally appreciate but for one second you think that he wanted us to join in with Belfort during this whole ordeal, you are as crazy as those brokers looking at their “hero.”