Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Wolf of Wall Street


It didn’t take me long to start comparing this to Scorsese’s Goodfellas. That one was narrated by Ray Liotta, detailing his life of petty gangsterism. This one is narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, detailing his life as the Wall Street version of gangsterism. Both are fast-paced, and amoral, and celebrate the good things that can come to those with no scruples, until the bills start coming due, that is.

Three hours seems a little excessive to me, but I couldn’t think of anything I’d like to cut. Leonardo was way, way, way over the top in some scenes, shouting like a down South camp meeting preacher, but that’s exactly what the role called for. This dude lived over the top until it all came crashing down. His lifestyle, and that of those around him, was so outrageous you could hardly believe the extravagance. I doubted it was all true (and of course some of it wasn’t, such as characters being combined), but most of it was. I mean, a multi-million-dollar yacht foundering in what looked like a hurricane … in the Mediterranean? But it actually happened, because the guy had to be some place at a particular time, and the captain tried to make it, against his better judgement. And down it went. No one died, they were plucked off the sinking playtoy in a helicopter.

In the end, what’s really astonishing is how long these people got away with selling stocks and bonds and shit like that, most of it totally worthless. Just how many suckers are there out there? (And most of these were fairly rich suckers.) Apparently there are enough for men like Jordan Belfort and his bucket-shop salesmen to siphon off many millions of dollars.

At some point I wondered just how many times someone said the F-word (also known as fuck) in this film. Turns out someone did an actual count, and there’s a page for it at Wikipedia, a list of frequency of that word in films. It was 569 times here, putting it at a big #2 of the all-time champions, but way behind the movie Fuck, which used it 857 times. Not surprising, since that was a documentary about the word itself. Nice to know, huh?