I’ve become greatly interested in the stock market as I start to take control of my finances. Part of this interest has also spilled over into learning about the history of the market for the last 20-30 years. So it was quite timely when the movie The Wolf of Wall Street was released on Blu-Ray and DVD earlier this month.
Based on the book of the same name, the movie portrays the career of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he rises from low-level obscurity to the eponymous ‘Wolf’ during the heyday of the 1990s and its heady exuberance. Directed by the Oscar-award winning Martin Scorsese, the cast features such notable actors such as Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, and Joanna Lumley. (It also has a neat cameo by the real Jordan Belfort as well.)
The film clocks in at three hours, but the story unfolds in such a captivating and engaging manner that you barely notice. Belfort sets up his own trading firm to push highly risky, near worthless, penny stocks on to an unsuspecting public. Using techniques ranging from high pressure sales tactics to outright lies and fraud, Belfort targets wealthy investors and encourages them to make big bets on the market all the while earning a very fat commission on each trade. The money quickly rolls in, leading to a life of wretched excess as Belfort and his fellow traders dive into a world of drugs, alcohol and women. DiCaprio seems to have really relished this role as he smoothly switches from an inspirational cult-like leader to a despicable drug-abusing philander.
While The Wolf of Wall Street may sound like a heavy movie to watch, in fact it’s really a black comedy where the extremes of Belfort’s life border on the absurd. Scorsese artfully portrays the trading house as the frat boy fraternity that it is – a drunken, drug-fuelled bender that never stops. When Belfort’s prized yacht is lost at sea you can only shake your head in disbelief. And as the noose from the FBI starts to close in you can’t help but feel a little sorry for the turn Belfort has taken.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a highly entertaining movie, with strong performances by the entire cast. Be forewarned that this is very much an R-rated film with scenes of drug use, sex, and liberal amounts of coarse language. (It’s reported that it broke the record for the number of times the “F” word was used in a film.) Nevertheless, it’s easy to see why it was an Oscar-nominated film. Get it on Blu-ray and DVD today!