If The Wolf Of Wall Street Doesn’t Earn DiCaprio An Oscar Then Nothing Will
Leonardo DiCaprio is an actor who really needs no introduction to anyone who has ever deigned to step into a film theatre at any point in their life. While many of you might have first laid eyes on him in the nearly-two-decades-old (yes, it’s been that long already and we’re all old now) super-hit Titanic, some others (including myself) know him better as the modern-day Romeo in the modernised retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. Since then he’s gone from strength to strength, acting in a slew of high budget, high rated, high grossing movies and delivering superb performance after absolutely superb performance.
Whether he’s acting out scenes in which he actually really does cut himself and draw blood or attempting to explain complex and convoluted plot points regarding our dreams, the man is the very definition of a ‘class act’.
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And yet for all his ace acting, he’s never won an Academy Award.
Amazing, right? That’s like Jose Mourinho never being awarded a manager of the year award by UEFA, OHWAIT–
The Wolf of Wall Street presents probably the most compelling argument thus far for the man winning an award that he has deserved for years now. But more than that, The Wolf of Wall Street is probably the best movie to have come out in 2013 and you would be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t go out and watch it right now, if you haven’t already.
The Wolf of Wall Street, based on the memoir of the same name, is a movie they’re classifying as a black comedy which follows the life of Jordan Belfort as he enters the world of stock markets and trading… just as the market enters into a massive crash. Having picked up some skills on the job, together with his own sharp wit and clever sales tactics, he decides to start up a company of his own with a rag-tag bunch of friends and fellow employees by doing things that, as he states in the movie, are highly unethical and definitely illegal. The result is Belfort rising in wealth and glamour to the point that he and his associates have so much money that they just don’t know what to do with it any more; so they engage in every kind of debauchery known to man.
The thing about The Wolf of Wall Street is that as much as you will laugh a lot throughout its almost three hour duration, it’s not a good film about good people doing good things. In fact, it’s almost the direct opposite. Here is a man who rounds up a gang of thieves and steals the money and livelihoods of thousands of naive investors, making themselves filthy rich to the point that they no longer care about anything other than indulging in copious amounts of drugs, sex with hookers and immature pranks the likes of throwing midgets onto dartboards. They also don’t shirk at the opportunity to screw each other over and are just really, really bad people in general. They lie, they cheat, they steal, to quote the Guerrero motto from wrestling.
And yet for all of that, you actually feel good watching this film. You enjoy it. Despite yourself, you want to be them, or at the very least be with them. You’re not laughing at them at times but rather, you’re laughing with them. You are almost rooting for them to get away with their antics. Even though you know it’s wrong on so many fundamental levels of existence, you want them to succeed. This movie will make you feel good, and then feel bad because of how good you feel. Why? Because it knows how to show you the kind of fun that you’d like to try having. And really, almost every character in this movie is having the time of their life.
And they owe it all to you… investors.
The Wolf of Wall Street serves as a not-so-underlying message to the world that the world of credit, stocks, shares and basically everything Wall Street stands for is a façade of lies, deceit and base guess-work created with the sole purpose of taking your money from you because you are so hopelessly addicted that you will accept whatever advice they offer to you as stockbrokers. It also offers an alternative perspective, perhaps even the main focus, of what exactly one would do if they ended up filthy stinking rich and had no idea how to spend all of that money.
I loved that about the film. I loved also how it almost seemed to parody movie-goers — specifically the final scene of the movie which played out like a mirror held up to anyone in the cinema at the time — presenting this perspective of self-help, as if it were teaching you quick ways to get rich and giving you hints on how to do so. It was absorbing in that way because it showed the absolute class of director Martin Scorsese. He knew exactly what he was doing with this. He knew full well that every single member of the audience looked upon these really bad people and felt a sense of envy, rather than what we all ought to have felt, which is disgust.
Although in fairness there were some people who did feel disgust, whether it was because of the graphic nudity, the bigotry in certain places or just the absolute sexist stereotyping in other points. Also, this movie used the word “fuck” a lot. Think 3 times a minute, a lot. And yet for all of that, this is how it was. In real life. This was more or less the true story of what happened. Those who complained are either just too conservative for their own good, or were victims of this company in real life and felt hard done by, watching how the characters and their actions were glorified by the film.
Yet for all of that, the movie is not exactly trying to convey an overall point to you. It wants you to come to the conclusion for yourself that bad people who do bad things eventually do have to own up to their actions. It wants you to pass judgement on your own, to Jordan and his associates. It doesn’t want to force anything down your throat and I respect that from Scorsese. Don’t think for a moment that it wasn’t done on purpose. As for the graphic sexual content? Really, I’ve seen more hardcore stuff on an HBO series.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a refreshing and different kind of movie. It’s a movie that takes morals and multiple complex plotlines and throws them straight out the window. (Cameron and Nolan, you guys paying attention?) It presents to you a story that actually happened, as acted out by some truly gifted entertainers the likes of DiCaprio as well as Jonah Hill and Rob Reiner, with some of the greatest scenes that you will ever see in a movie that doesn’t do crazy special effects or try to blow your brains out with explosions and shaky cam effects — looking at you, Man of Steel.
It is pure unadulterated entertainment value from start to finish and if Leonardo DiCaprio does not finally win an Academy Award for his portrayal of Jordan Belfort in this movie, then there truly is no justice in the world.
Go and watch it, if you haven’t. It is by far the best movie of 2013. Suck it, Gravity.