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The Wolf of Wall Street cautions us about the excesses of the nineties

DiCaprio drinks and drugs his way through the nineties
DiCaprio drinks and drugs his way through the nineties
Mary Cybulski

The Wolf of Wall Street


Every so often there comes a film that defines an era in our recent history. As a working woman that has seen Black Monday up close and the recession of the late nineties through today, I saw a lot of gritty reality under the glossy veneer of “The Wolf of Wall Street.” When Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort stands atop his yacht drinking champagne, as the FBI comes to investigate him for criminal activity and shady financial dealings, the viewer feels that one is witnessing “The Titanic” sinking again.

Just as Leonardo DiCaprio stood atop The Titanic before it sinks stating “I’m the King of the World,” DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort is smiling and enjoying the excess of the nineties before the bubble bursts and his world comes crashing down. “The Wolf of Wall Street” is about the excess of a period of financial corruption before the fall of The Twin Towers and The Wall Street of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Staten Islanders who have commuted to and from Manhattan in the ‘90s cannot fail to miss this film. It brings back memories of a New York City that is no more, a city that was sprinkled with fairy dust, before the corruption of Wall Street came to light, coloring our perceptions of a time that is no more.

Just as “Wall Street” the movie starring Michael Douglas showed the fall of the Wall Street of the ‘80s, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is more of a cautionary tale against crime and corruption. Just as Michael Douglas as Gordon Gecko in “Wall Street” says “Greed is Good,” Di Caprio oozes and simmers with the snakelike charm of a true salesman. Just as he cons millions of people out of their money, he is like a modern day Robin Hood that steals from the rich to make himself even richer, as the movie explains in a “Forbes” review of Belfort’s company in the nineties.

He is a Robin Hood without a conscience who rats out his friends to save himself. Today the real Jordan Belfort is out of prison and is now a motivational speaker that continues to con people out of their money to see him speak about well, becoming rich quick. This is one movie that deserves to be seen and re-seen. Expect “The Wolf of Wall Street” to become recognized on Oscar night.

As Entertainment Weekly states in its review “Based on Wall Street evil genius Jordan Belfort's 2007 memoir about getting insanely rich from conning investors, ‘Wolf’ stars Leonardo DiCaprio as an amoral Horatio Alger with a rolled C-note up his nose. He gives a hell of a performance that's electrifyingly loose, perversely funny, and dripping with jerk charisma.” It is very easy to see how this oily stockbroker Belfort could so aptly rob from the rich to become insanely rich.

TIME states that TIME’s own Richard Corliss states that ‘Wolf’ is about “bathing in amorality until it drowns,” turning crime into comedy by failing to take into account the actual scope of the crimes it portrays.” The Wall Street Journal states that “any meaningful perspective on the greedfest of the period is obscured by the gleefulness of the depiction.” If anything “The Wolf of Wall Street” warns its 2014 audience against excess. Any plans to get rich quick are usually that - scams - and in the end the rich get richer and the middle class that aspires to riches usually get caught. Four out of five millions from this review.

Showtimes on Staten Island

You can catch “Wolf” at Atrium Stadium Cinemas at 680 Arthur Kill Road today at ‎11:45 a.m.,‎ ‎3:25 p.m.,‎ ‎7:00‎ p.m., ‎8:05‎ p.m., ‎9:10 p.m., and‎ ‎10:25 p.m‎. It can also be seen at UA All Staten Island Stadium 16 Theatre at 2474 Forest Avenue at 2:50‎ p.m., ‎7:20‎ p.m., ‎9:40‎ p.m., and ‎11:10 p.m‎.