Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

There is no justice for the victims in Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” or is this movie a reminder to the U.S. government that the Wolf is still on the run? The one of the best directors of our time, Martin Scorsese, has chosen to adapt the reckless stockbroker criminal Jordan Belfort’s memoirs of the same name to tell the story in total decadence appeal with no trace of the disaster Belfort caused with bankruptcy for countless victims. On the other hand, there is no reason for Scorsese to change his film style from Goodfellas and Casino after the G-rated Hugo.

Obviously, Belfort’s memoirs are all about how he has started and how he screwed regular people’s lives to enrich himself and his employees, which Scorsese’s movie portraits perfectly in the humanly possible extremist way. Although it is hard to see what the motivation is of telling Belfort’s side of the story – glorifying the decadence in outrageous expense, heavy drinking, hard drug abusing and excess sex, did actually get on the viewer’s nerves at some point. Is that too much of upstart parties? Is that too much of drug use? Is that too much of nudity? If you’ve been bothered by this overdose of parties, drugs and sex that this 2 hours and 59 minutes film tries to drown you with, then you have at least a good sense of right or wrong. This film is not about what’s right or wrong or showing you an example how you can waste your life. This film is about how greed can get out of hands and how people are easy to be screwed by the greed when someone is extremely persuasive.

Who doesn’t want to walk out of the misery and bring a comfortable life to their family? The film starts with the sound of jungle, an animal and through the jungle brushes we see Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange. The story is told by a sleeky Jordan Belfort’s first person point of view as he talks directly to the camera about his decadent life. Then we see a fresh promising Jordan Belford back in 1987, taking the bus to his first day of work as stockbroker at Wall Street. He meets his mentor Mark Hanna and he learns how to be an excellent salesman like a Tarzan, but unfortunately the historical global stock market crash, Black Monday (19 October 1987), shuts down the young man’s hope. Belfort has to find a job to provide for his family and founds himself at a penny stock company where he restarts his ambition, and greed, by taking 50% of commission on every deal he makes from the people who are not rich and who eagerly need money to pay back their mortgage.

Martin Scorsese has indeed delivered a successful film which is very well made with some very interesting scenes by Leonardo DiCaprio and Brokeback Mountain’s Director of Photographer Rodrigo Prieto’s realistic style, accompanied by Scorsese’s classic camera movement and the hybrid 35mm. film and digital shooting to make the reproduction of the period of time credible with the old sound quality. And what a wonderful editing work again by the multi-Awards winner and Scorsese’s long time editor Thelma Schoonmaker!
– Shumaï Chou