* * *
at fraudulent people)
Everything is done in excess in Martin Scorcese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.” The movie shows that excess in vivid detail for nearly three hours.
It is loosely based on real characters, beginning with Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of Jordan Belfort, the son of accountants who started as a broker and quickly became a millionaire at age 26, only to be brought down by the FBI.
“Move the money from the client’s pocket to your pocket” is the game plan hammered into the young, naive broker by his boss (a short but incredible appearance by Matthew McConaughey). Anybody that has anything to do with Wall Street is pictured as a predator and a real bad person. Oddly, their victims are never dealt with. This is all about them and their excessive lifestyle.
While based on real people, real incidents (there’s a rescue at sea that actually happened), and lifestyles of the rich and greedy, it is hard to believe that any person could take as many drugs and engage in so much sex without killing themselves.
As the movie grinds on, you begin to dislike these obscene people more and more, including Belfort and his right hand man, Donnie (Jonah Hill). This guy married his cousin, abuses little people (one very disgusting scene) and engages in activities that go far beyond normal.
The only thing that matters is making money, with complete disregard for the client. Belfort flaunts his wealth by throwing lavish parties filled with sex, booze and drugs. Miraculously, everyone shows up for work the next day.
We do learn a little bit about worthless penny stocks, IPO’s, derivatives and trading. We also learn a bit too much about banality.
Don’t get us wrong, DiCaprio is terrific as the Wolf of Wall Street. You can see how people would follow him and his charismatic leadership.
But you won’t like him. Or Donnie. Or the other thugs who work for him. You don’t get to see what happens to all the people who bought his worthless stocks, but you do get to see what happens to those who sold to them. It is hard to believe how intelligent, wealthy people could be sucked into giving their money to a faceless phone voice, but they do...and many did in real life.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” is a fascinating, mesmerizing movie. It is a victim of excess, just like the people it portrays. After three hours, it becomes a bit too much to sit through.
Rated a giant R, with sex, drugs, nudity, profanity and just about every immoral act you can think of.