Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Terence Winter
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner and Matthew McConaughey
The more I read the reviews of others, the more I begin to hate my fellow man. I know that sounds very angry and pessimistic of me. That being said, I feel like modern society is losing the ability to filter the difference between fiction and reality. Well, “Wolf of Wall Street” is based on real-life events as told by the guy that perpetrated a great deal of them. Well, there is the unreliable narrator factor. But, Tommy Chong inspired him to write his autobiography to get a handle of his story! Well, Jordan Belfort is still a coked-up douchebag that in trying to paint a better picture of himself creates a road map for the failure of capitalism.
Stratton Oakmont wasn’t created by Belfort overnight. There were a series of fuck-ups that created Belfort, but they were institutionalized fuck-ups. Imagine if some Universal Monster wasn’t hatched in a lab or Eastern European folklore, but by the screwed-up national infrastructure. Just imagine a Frankenstein made out of legal loopholes and the room to maul innocent villagers. Now, I’ve got to go copyright that. Back to the film. Was anyone put off by how easily Jonah Hill sunk into his character?
There was a comfortable familiarity with being a big tooth cousin fucking sycophant. Sure, he was the source of most of the film’s humor. But, Hill seemed way too at ease playing that much of a bastard. Margot Robbie, Asian guy from Captain America and Shane from The Walking Dead also turned in admirable supporting roles. I should’ve learned the guys’ names, but they didn’t show their tits or flash their beaver in a rather clever scene. Still, so much of the movie gets capitalism right. From the structures, the per-determined cues and the specific targeting of easy marks; this film understands what powers our economies.
However, when we flip the focus and examine the people prolonging these systems, we start to see the insane double standard. DiCaprio is playing Belfort as the Jimmy Cagney gangster of a new age. No one needs a gun to rob people anymore. You’ve got their credit scores, PIN numbers, financial history and their desire to escape their wretched lives. The gangsters of a new financial age are playing such a truly evil con that few people can keep up. That’s what Kyle Chandler tries to explain, when the FBI element is introduced. He knows that his life sucks and that the systems allows for abuses, but Belfort and his ilk should be punished for taking advantage of those glaring faults.
Ultimately, this is a movie about excess. It doesn’t damn those take part in the misdoings, but it wants you to examine how they are allowed to happen. When DiCaprio holds that pen up to the audience at the end of the movie, you are guilty. Everyone in the audience wants to know how to best sell that pen. You want to know how to do it right and escape the bullshit that beset Belfort towards the end of his peak. It’s all going to be different this time, as you’re not a monster like him. You’re different! You’re better!