The Wolf of Wall Street, the Martin Scorsese film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is the true story of Jordan Belfort, a New York stock broker who, in the ’90s, earned hundreds of millions of dollars through nefarious means. The film, which is a lengthy 3 hours, is well-directed and well-acted. It tells an important story, a true story that shows some of the worst aspects of our financial system.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance is up there with some of the best of the year. His ability to exude this sense of depraved arrogance really captures the greed and insanity of Jordan Belfort’s actions. It reminded me of his stellar performance in the Steven Spielberg film, Catch Me If You Can. Leo’s display of Belfort’s drug addiction, which often fueled his greed, shows how complicated drug addiction can be. It’s worth noting that Jonah Hill, who played Belfort’s number 2, did an outstanding job as well.
I would highly recommend going and seeing The Wolf of Wall Street. It’s comedically brilliant and entertaining throughout. There are some absurd situations which, outrageously enough, actually happened. You find yourself losing track of right and wrong while trying to figure out what will happen next. It’s a well-made movie that pulls back the veil on some of the shady aspects of American culture.
This movie, in all its entertaining glory, shows what happens to a society when money becomes the thing upon which one bases their moral compass, when money and power become the only things that matter. People no longer matter. All that matters is wealth and status. A society that defines success as wealth begets wealthy individuals who have created nothing, but have earned unimaginable wealth. Belfort and his associates were glistening examples of how a financial system that incentivizes greed and criminality begets only greed and criminality. Bank of America, J.P. Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, UBS, Credit Suisse, Charles Schwab, and many more, all settled with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) on allegations of misleading investors to their exposure to the mortgaged-backed-securities that caused the financial crisis. They essentially got a slap on the hand for breaking the law to protect their profits. It has practically become their new business model. Break the law, make billions of dollars and later on you might have to give some of it back to the SEC. We shouldn’t be allowing this to happen. We have to hold Wall Street accountable, because if we do not, the story of The Wolf of Wall Street will be a recurring one.