Any Points For Glorifying The Amoral In The Wolf of Wall Street?

By Louis Falcetti

As awards season begins I've been catching up on all the big titles from 2013. So far I've seen American Hustle (It was good!), 12 Years A Slave (It was really good!), Dallas Buyers Club (It was amazingly good!) and most recently, The Wolf of Wall Street (…..)

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What does The Wolf of Wall Street have going for it? As usual with a Marty Scorsese movie, it's an opportunity for the man to show off his record collection, this time highlights being (at least for myself, beautiful, angry, wannabe teenage punk rocker me) two songs by Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, as well as the usual mix of blues and pop. It's also an excellent vehicle to highlight some truly fantastic acting performances, specifically Jonah Hill who provides a toothy, smiling, scumfuck Costello to Leonardo Dicaprio's greasy, scumfuck Abbott. And it's not out of line to declare a simple kind of happiness not only seeing Rob Reiner acting again, but to see him as a towering, sweary man of old school familial anger. Matthew McConaughey has a lot of fun in his brief early cameo, which must've been filmed alongside (the insanely far superior) Dallas Buyers Club judging from his skeletal figure.

[*Spoilers for The Wolf of Wall Street Below!]

That's what Wolf has going for it. Other than that, it's a 3 hour long infomercial for Jordan Belfort. I don't know what went wrong in the production that made what should've been a cautionary tale or a moral fable into a party video for the 1% and their desperate, social climbing underlings. I trust Terrence Winter and I trust Martin Scorsese, but whatever their visions, whatever their motivations, they have turned out a truly obnoxious film that will quickly replace Wall Street as the movie that amoral, capitalist, junior league scumfucks masturbate wildly to while blowing cocaine and being horrible. Seriously, is it hard to imagine that real life scumfuck Jordan Belfort doesn't sit at home jerking off to his on screen counterpart? Not really, in fact judging from Belfort's ACTUAL CAMEO in the movie it is hard to imagine any kind of actual negative judgment or portrayal of "Wolfie" coming from the film.

At the end of Goodfellas, the far superior Scorsese crime flick, Henry Hill (like Jordan) has ratted out his friends to save his ass, but unlike scumfuck Jordan, Henry has to spend the rest of his life in hiding for fear of being murdered. What would the end of Goodfellas been like, what kind of an influence would the film have had, if at the end Henry stood in front of a crowd of people, offering to help them learn to become wiseguys too? It might've seemed in poor taste, just a little bit. Which is funny, considering the amount of damage that Henry Hill inflicted during his time as a wiseguy (arguably) pales in comparison to the reach of destruction that Jordan Belfort proudly sprayed everywhere as he clawed his way to the top of the human pile of shit heap.

I'm curious as to what defenders of the film cite, or if they even bother trying to, as the parts of the film that make it not an over glorification of an amoral scumfuck and his amoral scumfuck lifestyle of amoral scumfuckery. Would it be the scene where Leo and Jonah double team a woman in their office, before the audience is treated to wedding photos of said woman while Leo narrates that she blew everyone in the office and this guy married her anyway? What exactly does that do for the story? How is that completely played for laughs? Or the scene in which Leo and his amoral scumfuck partners talk about hiring dwarves for dwarf tossing? How is that not completely played for laughs? I didn't laugh, but I'm sure there are those out there who were guffawing and immediately quoting it to each other, because, that scene is purely played for laughs.

These aren't scenes that tell the audience "Look at these shitty guys and the way they behave, isn't it awful?", these are scenes that tell the audience "Look at how much fun these rich white guys have being pricks, isn't it funny?" Not every movie has to have a moral and not every awful thing has to be played totally serious. I still think it's funny when Christian Bale screams "TRY GETTING A RESERVATION AT DORSIA NOW" with his axe buried in Jared Leto's head. Because THAT IS FICTION.

I remember one of my complaints about the Watchmen film was that so much of the comic was axed in order to make a rape scene longer. Or huge chunks of V for Vendetta don't make it to the screen so we can have more slo-motion knife fights? Well with Wolf we get scene upon scene upon scene upon scene of slow motion, gratuitous (and I mean that in every possible definition), ridiculous, over the top, absurd Sodom & Gomorrah level partying. Oh, at one point we're told one of the characters dies of a heart attack later on, but we don't see it, we just see him being pinned down by half a dozen naked women while money is poured upon his chest.

Wolf of Wall Street could have been the film that it's defenders want it to be, if it was about an hour shorter. If the debaucherous scenes of partying were cut down to a reasonable level (will the audience not understand the full scope of Belfort's character without seeing every single wild and wacky bit of partying he nobly threw for his blessed employees?) and if the coked out bro joke scenes were axed down to a reasonable level (Look! It's Jonah Hill and Leo being pricks on a plane! They're being pricks in a restaurant! Watch them be pricks on a boat! Isn't it funny!? It's just like you and your friends, you like to believe if you're a piece of shit.),  the film could have actually delivered a message instead of glorifying one of the slimiest, shittiest most worthless characters ever to be portrayed in an American film.

Are we supposed to feel for Jordan, when he watches a plane explode over the ocean, killing 3 people we're told, a plane that he had called to come rescue him and his crew as they sailed knowingly into bad weather because Jordan's money was on the line? Are we supposed to feel for Jordan when he has to go sober and Aw, life is so boring now! How about the scene where Jordan is supposed to be stepping down from head of the company, where Jordan gets to make a speech about how he helped out a poor woman who works for him, who was so poor and is now so rich, oh, that Jordan, what a man, what a guy, no wonder everyone has tears in their eyes listening to him speak. And what a powerful speaker he is! Throughout the film there seems to be no end of sequences involving Jordan giving rousing and powerful speeches, but I mean, don't think anything of it, since he isn't currently making his shitty living as a motivational speaker, standing in front of crowds giving rousing, stupid speeches.

Except that that is the case, and this movie serves as a rancid advertisement for a subhuman piece of shit. Scorsese, Leo, et al. should be ashamed of themselves for putting out a movie so unbelievably, transparently rotten, so confoundingly stupid and so totally and completely irresponsible. To actually end the actual movie with the actual Jordan Belfort standing in front of his actual business sign for his actual motivational speaking business at an actual speaking event says nothing to the audience about any kind of lesson learned, particularly when Leo begins his inane "sell me this pen" speech from the beginning of the film, letting everyone know that nothing was learned and Jordan is just a few more saps from recreating himself again, an unrepentant capitalist amoral scumfuck on his way to getting back his helicopter and yacht.

Remember when that movie The Program came out, and everyone was upset because of the scene with a player lying in the road, and then some idiot teenagers did it and died and how the scene had to be taken out after that because idiots do things they see on the screen? Wolf is like that one scene of The Program stretched out for 3 hours, and instead of idiot teenagers copying it, I'm nauseous at the notion of the amoral scumfucks who are going to seek to become like their grinning idiot god of the monsters Jordan Belfort.

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About Hannah Means Shannon

Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Independent comics scholar and former English Professor. Writing books on magic in the works of Alan Moore and the early works of Neil Gaiman.
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