“The Wolf of Wall Street” is directed by Martin Scorsese. It is a film of the same high caliber we expect from ole Marty. There have been concerns raised that the Academy of Motion Pictures may snub this film and all of the people connected to it. We'll find out when the nominations are announced on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014.
Scorsese has been accused of glorifying Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio). Belfort was convicted of stealing millions of dollars from 1,513 people and was indicted in 1998 for securities fraud and money laundering. He cooperated with the FBI and got a greatly reduced sentence for ratting everybody out. He was given four years at sentencing but only had to serve 22 months.
In the ’90s, Belfort founded a brokerage firm called Stratton Oakmont, which defrauded investors via boiler room pump and dump. A boiler room operation uses high-pressure sales tactics to sell stocks to clients through cold calling. Pump and dump refers to deceitfully inflating the price of cheaply purchased stocks. When the operators “dump” their overvalued shares, the price falls and investors lose their money.
Belfort is a a man to despise but anybody who thinks Scorsese glorified him did not get the movie. Belfort is portrayed as the lying, scheming, misogynist he is. The movie is brilliantly entertaining and all of the actors are in fine form.
When asked about the backlash he has received, Scorsese said, “Go back to 1973 “Mean Streets,” and a few years later “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” “Goodfellas,” “Casino,” “The Passion of the Christ.” I’ve had experience with this sort of thing before. It’s disappointing at times, it’s frustrating, but on the other hand this film seems to be something people can talk about. There’s a dialogue and that’s exciting. Whether you think something is well made or not, this is a big issue.”
Jonah Hill plays Donnie Azoff, a composite character based on Belfort's partner Danny Porush. Hill deserves the Academy Award for best supporting actor and DiCaprio should at least be in the running for best actor. It's a tough call this year as to who should win. Christian Bale gave a jaw-dropping performance in "American Hustle," and Matthew McConaughey — who has a great cameo in this film — was remarkable in "Dallas Buyers Club."