Sunday, December 29, 2013


Martin Scorsese’s new film THE WOLF OF WALL STREET makes Gordon Gekko, famous for his “Greed is Good” speech in Oliver Stone's 1987 movie WALL STREET, look housebroken and tame by comparison. This wild and offensive cinematic experience is overly long, with a kinetic performance by Leonardo DiCaprio portraying the real life, shameless Jordan Belfort (who wrote the book from which this movie was made,) an individual who reminded me of an evangelical preacher - stirring up his congregation of hungry, amoral brokers to bilk working class people - seducing them to invest in fraudulent penny stock transactions. The rapid ascension to personal enrichment is made to seem smooth and simple.

While many people in the audience laughed at Jordan and his team’s gaming of the “suckers”, I wore a dour expression during the three hours of what some experienced as exhilarating entertainment. I despised Scorsese’s celebration of the perks of debauchery. Though some critics might see this film as a sharp indictment of the culture of Wall Street, I found the opposite to be true; there was absolutely no penetration of the surface capitalist veneer of grasping wealth at the expense of others. On the contrary, this movie plunges into the dank, muddy swamps of excrement and attempts to beguile us with the empty putrid spoils that are found there.

Jonah Hill is proving to be a good actor playing Jordan’s co-conspirator, Donnie Azoff - introducing him to the world of getting “high”, giving him the "gift" of hallucinatory release, ecstasy and eventual addiction. Also Matthew McConaughey in a very short cameo role, almost steals the show as Belfort ‘s early “mentor” in the business of exploiting corporate acquisitiveness. It was also good to see Rob Reiner as Jordan’s father, the one sane person in a room of “animals” all unfettering their “ids” in unison.

We witness the hackneyed culture of “the good life,” lots of drugs, (quaaludes  and cocaine,) constant screwing – women’s bodies were all of the typical  fantasy mold  - existing to satisfy the “boys” in both classic and extravagant positions. Despite the illusion of “extreme” dissipation, the unfeeling and repetitive acts of dissolution became tiresome, and that was one of my major problems with THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. Jordan Belfort is a cardboard,  onanistic testosterone driven, self-indulgent man who can motivate others with the passion of his own greed, but there is no sense of an actual person behind the beautiful clothes and cars that he surrounds himself with, and so frankly I don’t give a damn about him or his ilk.

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