In The Wolf of Wall Street DiCaprio plays Belfort, a Long Island penny stockbroker who served 20 months in prison for defrauding investors in a massive 1990s securities scheme that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street and in the corporate banking world, including shoe designer Steve Madden. Written by
Brilliantly acted, superbly written and as one would expect from a picture by Martin Scorsese, it is a masterclass of directorial craft.
Showy when it needs to be, but also quiet and contemplative. "The Wolf of Wall Street" is the equivalent of something like "Good Fellas" or even more so "Casino" but set in the world of finance. The suits might be more expensive but the people who wear them are just as sick and violent as their street-mob counterparts. Sardonic in humor and unflinching in showing the depravity of its characters, it marks somewhat of a different approach to the world of stock-trading than Oliver Stone's "Wall Street".
Where Stone seems more in line with Bertold Brecht who considered theater (or in this case film) a moral institution, is Scorsese the omnipresent observer of the dark side of the American and in many cases the human dream.
Leonard DiCaprio gives another stellar performance of great intensity and even greater tragedy while this tale of corruption, greed and self-righteousness unfolds.
It's a vast panorama that shows how during the last twenty five to thirty years gullibility as well as our innate greed make all of us accomplices in this never-ending pyramid scheme far away from any reality.
One could almost hear Scorsese's clerical background come to the fore again, according to which nobody is without sin, and therefore we are all susceptible to corruption.
It is our decision where on which side we choose to live that makes the difference. For every individual but also society as a whole.
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