Wolf of Wall Street (6/10)
weakness of our capitalistic system isnít in the means of production.
The main weakness is in professional services, where there is almost
always a built-in conflict of interest. The most morally corrupt in our
society is without question the legal profession where lawyersí primary
interest in billing as many hours as possible is clearly in conflict
with their obligation to do good for their clients.
horrible moral compass created by this conflict of interest isnít
limited to lawyers. All providers of personal services have to
compromise between maximizing profit and doing what is best for the
client. Stock brokers are probably as close to lawyers as being the low
people on the totem pole as any other personal service.
here comes a film that castigates the lack of integrity of the stock
brokerage profession and calls a spade a spade. While there are good,
moral stock brokers, just as there are good, moral lawyers (somewhere;
just donít ask me where they are) there are many more who are in it for
what they can get out of it, not to do good for the client.
presents a moral and ethical roadblock that is almost impossible to
surmount. Many, if not most, stock brokers donít know what is a good
stock investment and what isnít. If they were that smart theyíd be
investing for themselves and not just working to live off the
commissions they receive on trades. What a stock broker wants to do is
get the highest commission on his trades, forget whether or not the
trade ends up being profitable for the client, and to ďchurn,Ē make as
many trades as possible. As a result he recommends any stock for which
he can come up with a plausible reason to buy, whether itís accurate or
what this movie exposes. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a real
life person who told his story in a frank memoir that director Martin
Scorsese has made into a movie, seeming to go overboard in showing the
moral corruption, not just in the broker-client relationship, but in all
things, as Jordan and his fellow brokers wallow in drugs, exorbitant
spending, rampant infidelity, and sexual excess. Jordan is a salesman
who doesnít have a clue about what is or what is not a good investment.
But he does know where the money is after heís advised what the game is
at the outset by Matthew McConaughey. In essence, heís told to get the
money for himself, as much as he can and as fast as he can at the
expense of gullible investors who know less about investing than Jordan
does. Jordan learns this lesson well, establishes a stock brokerage full
of brokers with no sense of ethics trading penny stocks, and makes an
obscene fortune for himself and his brokers.
film at times brings to mind such movieland bacchanalia and orgiastic
rites as Gore Vidalís Caligula (1979, produced by Penthouse
Magazine's Bob Guccione) that contained rampant nudity and graphic
sexual acts. Scorsese stops short of making this a hard core
pornographic film, but there is abundant nudity including multiple
scenes of people simulating sex. Is watching Leonardo Dicaprio
simulating innumerable graphic sexual acts entertaining? Not to me. But
Scorsese submits his audience to this time and again.
that Scorsese ďseems to go overboardĒ but apparently this is the way it
was. Itís hard to believe that people really acted (or still act) this
way, but apparently Scorsese is just showing Jordanís life as he and his
cohorts lived it.
biggest weakness of the film is that it totally ignores the clients who
are taken to the cleaners by these unethical brokers. People lose real
money and lots of people lost a lot of real money to these people, but
Scorsese and DiCaprio apparently donít think they are important enough
to even mention. We donít even see as much as one person who invested
money with these creeps and lost it all! In three hours Scorsese
couldnít find the time to show the effects of what these brokers did on
the innocent victims? Thatís inexcusable and superficial movie-making.
though itís apparently factually accurate, and while it justifiably
indicts the dishonesty and hypocrisy pervasive in the stock broker
profession, to sit through three sensationalized hours of all this
debauchery is just too much.