The Wolf of Wall Street

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If I were one of the characters of the movie, the best way to describe how I liked this movie would be “it’s a f***ing awesome movie”. However, be warned it a tale of debauchery and maybe you’ll feel it glorifies greed.

Synopsis and credits: Read on IMDB

Should you watch this movie? Definitely! It’ll make you scream “give Leonardo Dicaprio his Oscar already!”

Based on the memoir of the same name, the movie tells the story of Jordan Belfort rise ti riches as an ambitious stockbroker in Wall Street and co-founder of firm Stratton Oakmont. Belfort recruits a group of inexperienced, but hungry sales people to be stockbrokers at his startup, and very soon the company grows into an operation of around 1000 employees who are not always earning their comissions in the most legal way. Because these guys are earning more money than they know what to do with it, we soon see a parade of extravangant spending full of lavish parties, prostitutes, alcohol, and lots and lots of drugs… which eventually gets the attention of the FBI and the ways in which these funds are obtained.

Directed by Martin Scorcesse and starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Jonah Hill, the movie lasts a whopping 3 hours which you can barely feel while immersed in this world of excess the character’s live in. Some of the scenes appear as if some artistic liberties were taken, just to make the movie-watching experience a lot more entertaining, however; reports say they are far from fictitious (which makes it an even more compelling watch). Such are the excesses portray, this movie is going down in cinematic history as the non-documentary feature that has used the word “fuck” the most. No surprise there!

While the movie is great, I see a little issue with how the topic is portrayed. There have been a lot of critics of the movie saying it celebrates greed, excess, and does not show the side of the victims. Well, of course it will not show that side, after all this is an adaptation of a memoir written by Belfort himself. At various stages you know they are doing something illegal which the movie never openly glorifies ( we all know the real life players even got their time in jail). But it does condone a somewhat hedonistic lifestyle that could be conducive to obtaining certain pleasures by all means necessary. There were parts in the movie where I sort of rooted for Dicaprio’s character and sort of hated how some of the characters were beating him when he was down. I quickly realized…. hold on a second…. This guy’s a douche! While I don’t think greed is celebrated here, the criminal activities of the guy were reduced to “shenanigans” we could all laugh at.

It’s hard not to laugh when you don’t really know what the damage is these people caused. Rarely movies or documentaries show tangible proof of these crimes and victims behind them. Things that have to do with financial markets, banks, and Wall Street seem so obscure and complicated it’s hard to understand the crime. What the real stockbroker’s of Stratton Oakmont did was a scheme known as “pump and dump”. Take the example of Steve Madden (the company profiled in the movie). Stockbrokers start selling shares to their clients, but they exaggerate the value and profitability of having such stock, the buzz makes investors buy like crazy which inflates the price. Now, without their knowledge, the bosses at the firm own a very large percentage of stock from Steve Madden, which they got for peanuts. Since the stock is now a hot tamale, they can sell these at prices way higher than what they originally got them for, making them millions. Eventually the hype dies down and what investors end up having is sort of worthless stuff. Well, not necessarily, but sort of like getting a Ford Fiesta for the price of an Audi R8…. Most of the people defrauded this way were middle class, small business owners.

Ok, sorry for that little side note / tutorial. The point is, it is a very well made movie worth the watch. Have your laugh while you watch, but don’t forget the real life crimes committed are the real travesty and you should better be outraged!

Paola’s mood after watching this movie:

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  1. Academy Awards Nominees for Best Picture: A Recap | The Paola Campo Report - […] The rise and eventual downfall of Wall Street powerhouse stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio). My review here. […]

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