Cinema of Excess
There has been a recent trend in Hollywood. It’s ‘the Cinema of Excess’. What it means is filmmakers are making more and more films about greed, about the lifestyle of rich people, about parties, about drugs, sex etc. It’s most likely Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ that inspired this trend.
Wolf of Wall Street is a 3-hour long movie with Two-thirds of it featuring sex, drugs or money. And it holds the Guinness World Record for the most instances of swearing in a film. But if you can look past these things you are going to see a vivid picture of the American capitalism and how it wakes up the inner greedy animal in every person.
Here is the plot of the story
Jordan Belfort is a young man starts his career as a junior broker in a Wall Street brokerage firm with one goal and only one goal in his mind, which is to make money. But Black Monday (the largest one-day stock market drop in history) causes this young enthusiastic broker to lose his job and go unemployed. After a while, he finds a job at a small brokerage firm at Long Island that specializes in penny stocks. Due to his talents, he was able to make a lot of money in no time. In this time he meets his ‘partner-in-crime’ Donny Azoff. In the early 1990s, Jordan Belfort teamed with Donny Azoff and started brokerage firm named Stratford-Oakmont. This company used penny stocks which were potentially worthless. But they increased their price for a short time and sold them to rich businessmen for a higher price. Then this high-price drops to a low value losing millions of dollars to the businessmen. The company grew exponentially becoming one of the giants in Wall Street. This leads to Belfort featured on the cover of Forbes Magazine, being called “The Wolf of Wall Street”. With the FBI onto Belfort’s trading schemes, he devises new ways to cover his tracks and watch his fortune grow. Belfort ultimately comes up with a scheme to stash their cash in a European bank. Eventually, he got caught and pleaded guilty to securities fraud and money laundering. He “cooperated” with authorities in an effort to shorten his prison sentence. In 2003, Belfort was sentenced to four years in prison and personally fined $110 million. He served 22 months in jail.
The movie is not about the character development of Jordan, it starts at a point where he is at his best and flashbacks tell the story. This was intentionally done by the director so the viewer can feel the power that is radiating from Jordan.
Excessive use of drugs, plenty of scenes with loads of money, sex, Jordan’s luxurious life including a giant mansion and a private jet, the way he is talking, charisma of him, way story flows to keep you hooked up to the movie till the end.
The interesting fact about this movie is that throughout the time you are watching the movie, you subconsciously want to be him and you subconsciously like the life he’s living. Only, in the end, you feel pity for him. You no longer want to be like him and then you feel ashamed of wanting to be like him.
The final scene of this film is of a group of people watching and listening to Jordan Belfort. Through this, Martin Scorsese conveys the idea that we all have the potential to become Jordan Belfort. Greed lies in all of us.
Even the production of the movie is an example for excess, a 100 million USD budget, A-listed actors, world-class director and a production crew contributes to produce one of the best black comedies of the century.
Finally, if you haven’t watched this already go and watch this. Spend those 3 hours. You are not going to regret it. You’ll be witnessing a masterpiece from a genius.
“Let me tell you something. There’s no nobility in poverty. I’ve been a poor man, and I’ve been a rich man. And I choose rich every f***ing time.”