The creed “Greed is Good” is uttered by the fictional character portrayed by Michael Douglas in the 1987 film “Wall Street.” Some things never change, and is personified by Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of the 21st century of Gordon Gekko with real life criminal Jordan Belfort.
Working with frequent director collaborator Martin Scorsese in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Mr. DiCaprio is the money-obsessed self-made man who falls under its lures and stranglehold it has against his soul.
Mr. Scorsese takes a look at Wall Street as he goes from making films about blue-collar criminals to white-collar stock manipulator. The gang shares similarity with a charismatic figurehead followed by his loyal men as they look for ways to skirt the law whether it'd be the police or the S.E.C.
Under the tutelage of Jack Hanna (Matthew McConaughey), he’s given the words of wisdom that will carry with him throughout his career.
When Jordan losses his job due to the downfall in the markets in 1987, his wife, Tess (Cristin Milioti), brings him to another job prospective.
Jordan goes from promoting well-known stocks to worthless penny stocks but with an upside for margins.
He realizes that he has the ability to play off people and their temptation of wealth leads him to becoming a monetary cult leader looking for other disciples of greed.
His first follower is Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) who becomes his life-long confidant and business partner as they go from running their operations out of a garage to building up their business on Wall Street with Stratton Oakmont.
Armed with a phone and script, they reach unsuspecting prey with their solicitations of penny stocks before setting their eyes on the wealthy. The young and naive Jordan transforms into the wolf of Wall Street as he bears down against the bulls and bears of the market.
From there it’s tempting to see why he does what he does in being rewarded with the riches of grandeur with ever-flowing money, material goods, women and temptation at every foot step especially with Margot Robbie as Naomi, or wife #2. Her character shows that she can match Mr. DiCaprio’s thirst for life and the desire for finer things in life.
Mr. Scorsese films often looks at individuals who are at the lowest point in life looking for a way to make it to the top at no cost. Even though he's successful at what he does, he attracts less desirable attention with the law which becomes a rude awakening for Jordan.
Kyle Chandler serves as F.B.I. Agent Patrick Denham who monitors the growth of his enterprise. Jordan's attempt to belittle the ideals of law comes back in the end as he realizes that it leads to his downfall.
The film follows Mr. DiCaprio’s narrating his life as his wealth takes him to places he’s never been as he attempts to expand his control on his money and his business. As he addresses the audience with events from his life, it becomes repetitive in showing the many ways indulgences and addictions are portrayed by him and his colleagues throughout the film.
Attaining the status that Jordan Belfort did at his young age causes youthful discretion that the audience wants to look away but can't as they become entranced at seeing how low his character goes when left to his own vice and aversion for wealth.
His life becomes like the Stock Market with its ebbs and flows before realizing that things can't stay up forever but eventually comes crashing down.
Classification: Redbox New Blu-Ray Release
Movie Grade: 4 out of 5 stars
Leonardo DiCaprio gives a well-deserved performance as a larger than life monetary cult leader who spreads his word of greed to his clients, employees and anyone wanting a piece of the action.
Blu-Ray Grade: 0 out of 5 stars:
Only features the film.
Rating: R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence
Timing: 3 Hours
Genre: Biography, Drama, Comedy, Crime.
- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Screenplay: Terrance Stamp
Book: Jordan Belmont