Monday, December 29, 2014

Movie Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street 
Starring: Leonardo Dicaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley, Cristin Milioti, Christine Ebersole, Shea Whigham, Katarina Cas, P. J. Byrne, Kenneth Choi, Brian Sacca, Henry Zebrowski 
Director: Martin Scorsese 
Paramount Pictures, Red Granite Pictures, Appian Way, Sikelia Productions, EMJAG Productions, USA, 2013.
Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a fresh stock broker in Rothschild company. He is mentored to his job by cocaine-powered older stock broker Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaghey). Mark motivates Jordan by pounding his chest and humming, a technique Jordan also uses later to motivate his own workers. 
Leonardo DiCaprio and Matthew McConaghey
Jordan Belfort and Mark Hanna pounding thir chest
After the Black Monday in 1987 he is fired and gets a new job in a company trading penny stocks. Using hype and selling unrealistic dreams Jordan becomes successful and wealthy. A moralless toy salesman Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) wants to work for him after he hears how much money Jordan earns. 
Jonah Hill
Jordan hires Donnie Azoff
This is how you respect your customers
Jordan and Donnie start their own investing company. They also hire some part time drug-dealers. The Jordan's employees are idiots but arrogant enough to sell worthless stocks to the unsuspecting common people (they think the rich are too smart to buy them). But Jordan begins also to scam the rich people with his new company Stratton Oakmont. The firm grows and Jordan rewards the employees with wild parties full with strippers and drugs. And midgets. He parties like modern Caligula. Jordan also cheats his good wife Teresa (Cristin Milioti) with sexy lingerie designer Naomi (Margot Robbie). 
One of the tamer parties
Cristin Milioti
Jordan's first wife Teresa learns the ugly truth
Margot Robbie and Joanna Lumley
Jordan's new wife Naomi and her aunt Emma (Joanna Lumley)
The FBI-agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) gets interested about Jordan's businesses. At the half point the movie turns into a crime drama because Jordan and his pals have to laundry the vast amounts of illegal money. At this point the ineptness of his colleagues Donnie and Nicky "Rugrat" Koskoff (P. J. Byrne) begins to work against him. 
This movie spawned also the hilarious Meshuggah meme
Money, money, money
The movie is largely based on Jordan Belfort's book he wrote about his career. Most of the insane stuff happening in the movie is actually a bit toned down from the book version. The movie shows Jordan's quick transition from fresh stock broker into a sleazy businessman who is addicted to sex, drugs and money. Considering the amounts of drugs he has taken, unsafe sex with prostitutes and and almost crashing his helicopter while flying under influence (in addition to crashing other vehicles) it is a miracle that Jordan Belfort is still alive. It is also remarkable that after being punished for his financial crimes with a little more than a slap on the wrist, he is nowadays a well-paid host of seminars on sales techniques. It is truly a mad world. 
Leonardo DiCaprio
Would you buy an used car from this man?
Consider once more
The movie is based on the same scam that was also depicted in the movie Boiler Room. However this movie takes the overindulgence much further, the movie feels like a combination of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Caligula, Goodfellas and American Pie. DiCaprio makes one of his wildest roles ever. Scorsese has directed another great crime film and an portrait of an immoral businessman. However the numerous orgies and drug use may be too much for some viewers. The movie is based on Jordan Belfort's own viewpoint, and at least in the movie he thinks he is not doing anything wrong. Compared to almost aristocratic Gordon Gekko in Wall Street movies, Jordan is like an immature brat. He gets everything, but he does not respect anything or anyone. He does not respect his customers, his women or the law. He and his friends turn the pursuit of American Dream into a charade. In the movie Jordan's opponent Special Agent Patrick Denham acts as his moral opposite, although Denham is not rich at least he knows he is doing the right thing.

Review: Very good

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