The story showcased in The Wolf of Wall Street hits at the very core of how the quest for more money can be twisted in such a way that abuses what capitalism is meant to provide for those seeking to be rewarded for their work and enterprise.
The movie is about greed and excess. It is about how easy it is to rationalize wealth acquisition in spite of the underlying pilfering and crime that is at core of such schemes. It also brings light to how easy it is to rationalize and get sucked into a scheme with a dynamic and charismatic leader who gives you what you want to hear, making the deception deep. In the end there are huge pitfalls that only lead to ruin.
Leonardo DiCaprio gives one of the best performances of a character he has taken on in his illustrious career. He is riveting as he allows himself to be taken over by greed at all costs and to bring many with him. His moral grounding is completely stripped as he buys into and believes his own lies. His closest business partners and friends support him like a mob boss as they perpetrate one of the biggest frauds on Wall Street.
While using the mantra of achieving the American Dream at all costs , the film becomes an allegory on some of the largest scams and ill fate schemes in banking, investing and financial acquisition that literally threw our world economy into total disarray that continues to resonate today.
Even with the eventual convictions, DiCaprio’s character had a relatively light sentence with large penalties , despite the hundreds of millions of dollars that translated to ruined lives because of his wrongdoing. This worship and slap in the hand at the wrongdoers in these situations, only showcases the admiration of many who view these type of business dealings as legitimate as long as you do not get caught.
The Wolf of Wall Street is one of Martin Scorsese’s best films that he has directed. Masterful. The screenplay that translated into film Jordan Belfort’s memoir is absolutely brilliant in bringing the spirit of the true story to the big screen.
I invite you to watch the film.