The Wolf of Wall Street
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Terence Winter
Based on: Jordan Belfort‘s book
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley, Shea Whigham
Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) dreams of making a whole lot of money on Wall Street. At first this seems rather impossible, especially since the stock markets crash right when Jordan gets his broker’s license. But then Jordan finds a way to make it big, even if it’s not entirely legal. He enjoys the money way too much to care about that. Even when the FBI gets involved, he can’t stop.
The Wolf of Wall Street was one of the most uncomfortable movie experiences I had in recent times. It was not only the content, but also the length and the audience that had me cringing.
I think that the discomfort I got from the content was exactly the effect that Scorsese was going for. He did show an extremely fucked-up world after all. One where everything revolves around money and status and where the only people who are regarded fully human are rich white men. Scorsese wanted to make us feel uncomfortable as shit and he completely succeeded with me.
But with most of the rest of the audience apparently not so much. The worst scenes were laughed at. Because apparently “dwarf tossing” is hilarious. Buying women as an incentive for your employees is just awesome. A guy who fucks himself up on drugs so much he can’t walk anymore but who drags himself to his car and drives off is the best fucking comedy in town.
I think the problem was that the goals and values Jordan has are the classic capitalistic/dudebro goals and values. And a lot of people (at least in capitalistic/dudebro societies) don’t think about the validity of that very much. They don’t realize when it’s all gone too far, especially not when it’s presented through a charming, good-looking man with a very pretty wife. Jordan is not a hero, though, far from it. He’s the embodiment of everything that is wrong with that culture, but told from deep within that culture, told from his own perspective.
And I think that lack of critical distance really hurt the film in the end, even if it gave Leonard DiCaprio the chance to act the hell out of the role. But what hurt the film even more was that it was way too long. It could have been an hour shorter and nothing would have been lost. But putting everything together, despite of the strong qualities the film has too, makes a movie that I really don’t want to see again.
Summarizing: It’s not a bad film but I certainly didn’t like it.