The Wolf Of Wall Street makes Gordon Gekko look like a lamb.
Watch The Wolf of Wall Street Online He’s Jordon Belfort and he’s the real-life anti-hero of Martin Scorsese’s exhausting three-hour movie chronicling the demented excesses of Belfort’s years as a shyster stockbroker in the late eighties and nineties.
Like some kind of mad metaphor for the financial system as a whole Belfort becomes a maniacal master of the universe whose greed and appetites are so out of control you know everything’s going to come crashing down.
Played by Leonardo DiCaprio drawing upon every ounce of his considerable charisma the man is like Gekko’s crazed kid brother determined to show that whatever Gordon can do he can do bigger, better and more outrageously. While under the influence of narcotics.
Watch The Wolf of Wall Street Online Lunch is for wimps? Belfort’s mantra appears to be: anything legal that passes your lips is for wimps. The man is permanently off his head. Cocaine, crack, morphine, Xanax and some retro-pharmaceutical drug I’d never heard off called Quaaludes fuel his unstoppable desire to make money which, as he tells us in voiceover, is the biggest drug of all.
“Enough of it will make you invincible” he says and for much of the running time it’s hard to disagree as he presides over his own personal Kubla Khan: Stratton Oakmont, a brokerage firm he grows from a disused Long Island garage staffed by local hoodlums and drop-outs into a Wall Street monster employing hundreds.
It’s a place where normal rules don’t apply, or any rules, although I did spot one sign in the washroom requesting staff kindly abstain from intercourse during office hours.
Watch The Wolf of Wall Street Online Otherwise it’s anything goes, from dwarf-tossing on the trading floor (a bizarre bit of team bonding) prostitutes by the dozen, mountains of cocaine and, of course, complete disregard for financial propriety.
Belfort starts his career foisting worthless “penny stocks” on credulous small-time investors (“selling garbage to garbage men”) before graduating to major fraud, attracting the attention of the FBI.
He’s like the Pied Piper of mega-riches and everyone wants in, even when it becomes clear he’s basically a con-man. A profile in Forbes magazine describes him as a “twisted Robin Hood” who steals from the rich and lines his own pockets.
Watch The Wolf of Wall Street Online For a brief moment Belfort worries the roof is going to cave in. Not exactly. A frenzy of applicants jams the revolving doors of his company. The party just keeps getting bigger.
Scorsese, 71, portrays all this with the sort of rip-snorting energy and attention to detail you’d associate with a man half his age, employing all manner of cinematic trickery to communicate the excitement, bacchanalian excess and headlong rush of living without any kind of off-switch or self-restraint.
In this he’s matched by his equally committed and fearless leading man who inhabits Belfort with supreme conviction and little regard for his own vanity. Belfort may have untold riches but he’s a slave to his desires and frequently makes a prat of himself.
Watch The Wolf of Wall Street Online So we see DiCaprio as we’ve never seen him before: naked with a lit candle protruding from his backside (don’t ask), on the floor pathetically begging his gorgeous wife (Margot Robbie) for sex or, in a climactic set-piece, bombed out of his mind on drugs that have completely incapacitated his motor skills.
The latter sequence is a high point of the darkly comic picture, performed with clownish brilliance by DiCaprio. It sees Belfort reduced to a state of drooling helplessness, unable to speak or walk, at a time when he very much needs to.
Watch The Wolf of Wall Street Online It exposes him for what he is: a child who needs all the help he can get, not to mention a very firm hand. Alas, that’s not going to come from his own father, played by Rob Reiner.
He’s a lower-middle class accountant who Belfort co-opts into the firm and with whom he shoots the breeze, in one surreal conversation, on the subject of prostitutes.
So is Jordan Belfort the new Gordon Gekko? Will aspiring financiers ape his talk, style and dedication to the green stuff, not to mention the white stuff? Happily, I doubt it.
Watch The Wolf of Wall Street Online wolf of wall street, jordan belfort, leonardo di caprioLeonardo DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort is the Pied Piper of riches and everyone wants in [UPI]
Despite the objections of some of Belfort’s victims who complain the film glorifies the man he is quite plainly a jerk and not a particularly seductive or complex one despite the pull he holds over his staff.
He’s a boy who steals the keys to the sweet shop and goes bonkers rather than being a wily grown-up who skilfully manipulates those around him and has enviable smarts. Belfort’s principal talents are his chutzpah and salesmanship which are fun to witness – up to a point – but aren’t exactly sophisticated.
Watch The Wolf of Wall Street Online He gets rich simply by having the temerity to sell dud stocks and break the law fuelled by huge quantities of drugs. It’s not exactly the stuff of Machiavelli.
Neither is there a tragic dimension to the character, a deeper sense of a flawed personality that might inspire empathy or intrigue. Belfort tells us that he “always wanted to be rich” and that’s about it in terms of backstory.
He’s simply a money monster.
Watch The Wolf of Wall Street Online Free That said, he wasn’t always off his trolley. One of the most memorable scenes occurs early on when a wide-eyed Belfort lands his first job with an upmarket brokerage firm, shortly before the crash of 1987. He’s taken for lunch by a hilariously doolally big cheese (Matthew McConaughey) who schools him in the arts of excess and shafting clients. Plus ca change.