I saw “The Wolf Of Wall Street” yesterday. I don’t know how to write a proper movie review, so I’ll just say a few quick things.
The first is that it was an incredibly entertaining Martin Scorsese classic. The story is funny, dirty (tons of sex and drugs), and the directing is top notch (it’s Scorsese so the soundtrack is great throughout). It’s just really enjoyable. It was three hours long and I never got bored.
There’s been some whines about how the film glorified Jordan Belfort (who made a fortune starting his own boiler room, pump-and-dump brokerage) and didn’t focus on any of the victims. And there’s truth to that. But that doesn’t mean it was an amoral movie.
In fact it had a pretty fascinating message, which was: The American Dream isn’t about becoming middle class and having your kids go to college, it’s about becoming ridiculously rich. But the institutions that allow people to become ridiculously rich (Wall Street banks, etc.) aren’t open to people with the wrong background and without the correct connections and breeding. So in light of that contradiction, the only way for normals to achieve the American dream is to find something that’s in a grey area of the law.
Thus the story depicts how Jordan Belfort took a group of losers from Long Island and turned them into sales geniuses that could sell stocks like crazy (many of them penny stocks or scammy IPOs or other schemes).
The movie features several scenes where Belfort delivers powerful, motivational speeches to the brokers at Stratton Oakmont (his brokerage) and to some they may recall the famous speech of Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street.” But they’re actually more similar to Tom Cruise’s character in “Magnolia,” who gives workshops to losers purporting to teach them how to be as successful as he is with women (even though they all lack his charisma and good looks).
It makes for an inherently interesting theme of how people who lack resources (connections, education, social graces, good looks etc.) can achieve wild success.
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