Friday, 17 January 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street

 He that is of the opinion that money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money. - Benjamin Franklin
 The Real Wolf

Jordan belfort
Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo Dicaprio, began his sales antics in the meat and fish industry on long island, NY, unloading 5,000 pounds of succulent profits  ... 'proteins' onto butchers, stores and companies. Three years later he was claiming personal bankruptcy. Most people would have hung up the towel and worked in a shopping mall just to wrap themselves in the blanket of financial stability again. Jordan was not like most people. He had 'High-minded ambitions' to become a financial hero, super-rich and to dine with the big boys. Selling deceased flesh was not 'meaty' enough for Mr.Belfort, oh no, he needed an entity which could grow and was full of life... stocks.

 Belfort crawled onto wall street as the lowest of the low, 'pawn-scum' as quoted in the film. He worked for brokerage firms such as Rothchild, D.H Blair and F.D Roberts but as the savings and loan and internet crises  slapped wall street about, Belfort was once again on the streets. He found a penny stock boiler room known as the 'investment center' and was hired as a broker dealing with extremely small companies, low prices, high spread and volatility stock.The thing that dazzled his money crazed eyes was the high commission rates for selling penny-stock and he soon realized their potential to make him thousands. He astounded his colleagues with his sales wizardry and began making huge returns on his commissions.

With Kenny Greene, known as Donnie azoff in the film played by Jonah Hill, and some other working class schmucks Belfort founded Stratton Oakmont Inc which would start its life as a shady boiler room where Belfort and his Strattonites would push blue chip stocks to wealthy investors and then 'unload the dog-shit'... the high commission but highly volatile stocks in which they make the money.

Belfort and his followers earned millions from commission and were expanding fast. They were known for their frivolous, superfluous and out right obscene lifestyle. Belfort and his close team were regular drug abusers. Though he lived like a king running the Stratton empire, his monarchy was founded on immoral and illegal grounds, which when investigated by the FBI saw his kingdom fall down like a card tower.

Just One More Line

Endless debauchery, drugs, greed, carelessness, parties, sex and more drugs, greed, parties and sex. This film is a wild ride. The drivers are testosterone fueled stockbrokers with a focus on how fucking great the ride to complete financial dominance is without following traffic regulations. Many have faulted this film for lacking a solid, complex plot... the plot is simple and above all entertaining but what marks this cinematic masterpiece out from the rest is the focus on character. Scorsese an of course the great actors portray great characters, they sell this obscene life faultlessly. The film follows the characters as they develop and crash, the plot is merely the scaffolding. This isn't a downfall, it makes for extremely entertaining scenes which whip up temptations, lust, anger, adrenaline and ambition in the audience... which is how Belfort and his coke-nosed buddies felt during their heydays as kings of wall street. 

Like Casino we witness a shady protagonist with a unique skill set hit big in a world run by the upper-class who have a long history being at the top. The protagonists who are excelling so rapidly trip up on their own faults, desires and irrational decisions which lead to them crashing down into an abyss. 

This emotional temporal line has been used by Scorsese many times, a build up of success, money and lifestyle to a climax which is exaggerated to the max...  and then a crash or period of downfall to which the audience is led to believe no one could return from. The characters then even out and left to recover from their extremities. It is a genius emotional roller coaster and this film really explodes on the highs and lows of Belfort and his firm.

The casting was superb, this is Jonah Hill's best work yet. He has been nominated for an Oscar and so has Dicaprio of course, together they inject humor, thrill and danger to this film. Margot Robbie stars as Naomie Lapaglia an extremely sexy and hot model who catches the stockbrockers eye and ego. Joanna Lumley and Mathew McConaughhey play excellent characters who play a huge role in shaping the protagonist's journey to wealth and fame. 

Iconic and memorable scenes throughout this movie which will keep you laughing, energized and most of all wanting more and more. 

Many critics and people from moral-ville dislike the drug abuse, sex and encouragement for money as the only way of life. However this just goes to show how well the film has been made and played out, as this hedonistic lifestyle is supposed to be tempting and eye goggling, it is supposed to reel you into joining it... this only represents the motives of the characters and their delusions that money and only the quantity of it will lead to a 'good' life. The movie actually acts as a warning and Belfort is of course bought to justice.... if you want to ruin the lives of millions, party hard every day, abuse countless drugs and be greedy beyond belief then you will fuck up. 

Such a great piece of cinema from one of cinemas great men.


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