Published on February 22nd, 2015 | by John Nesbit0
//Review – The Wolf of Wall Street
The Wolf of Wall Street
Director: Martin Scorsese
Screenwriter: Terence Winter
Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Mathew McConaughey, Rob Reiner
Based on sleezy stockbroker Jordan Belfort’s memoir, The Wolf of Wall Street graphically illustrates American excess. Martin Scorsese crams of over the top sex, drugs, and money scamming into a three hour tour of an American Caligula (Leonardo DiCaprio’s comparison).
Stylistically similar to the final thirty minutes of Goodfellas on steroids, this time Scorsese offers no redeeming lead characters–all are disgusting and loathsome. A product of American greed, Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) balances his lust for wealth with continual doses of Quaaludes, cocaine, and sex. It’s an unending hedonistic cycle–an addiction that must be fed even after the FBI steps in.
Not designed for everyone, the face-paced exhausting ride requires a strong stomach. Scorsese opens with Belfort snorting cocaine from a lady’s naked buttocks to cue viewers for what’s to come. I’m not sure how Scorsese obtained only an R rating. But I was entertained … and challenged. Many scenes brought chuckles and recognition. I have met similar characters in real life (attend virtually any sales training session)–just not as dramatic. And Scorsese serves up a scathing indictment of American society.
Sex and drugs are continually associated with the Market, and you’re likely to laugh at the excess. Scorsese even classifies prostitutes in Market terms–the blue chips are the high class “escorts,” the NASDAQ are regular prostitutes, and the pink sheets (penny stocks) are the skanks. Coke is snorted off every conceivable erogenous zone, and it’s virtually impossible to visit the office restroom without sexual grinding encounters. Hell, you can’t even view a formal cocktail party without someone whacking off in public.
Scorsese’s camera sticks close to its characters, never backing away to allow you to reflect on their immorality. Instead you may find yourself laughing at scenes you would ordinarily find revolting.
It’s meant to be disgusting–America’s addiction to excess IS repulsive. A telling scene takes place as DiCaprio’s character tutors his disciples how to gain the trust of an investor over the phone–as he proceeds through the sales script with ultimate caring and sincerity, he simultaneously mouths “f__ you” and flips off the client.
The film does much the same; it first seduces and then repulses. Engrossing and entertaining, only afterwards can we breathe and think about what Scorsese has done to us.
Scorsese has stated that he chose between two career paths: the priesthood and filmmaking. We are truly blessed that he followed the latter; his morality tales reach millions through his cinematic vision. The latest incarnation is his most complex and profound offering to date–a controversial film certain to spin heads and spark spirited discussions.