Often Times When I bring up the film The Wolf of Wall Street the film incites many different reactions from people. Some people smile widely and remember the instances that had them howling with delight at the screen while others faces turn sour as they recall the audacity of the most obscene instances of the film. As controversial as the film is, however, one has to marvel at the artistry of the film and the director of it Martin Scorsese. Scorsese's great eye for visual literacy and storytelling gives the film the superficial tone that makes the comedy work but also provides the attention to detail that makes the film a quiet masterpiece. At first glance, Wolf of Wall Street is a comedy about upstart stock brokers who lack the moral or ethical capacity that society deems as admirable. However when close attention is paid to the subtle and more quiet instances in the film we can point out complex ideas of over consumerism and the horrific aspects of capitalism.
During the speech scene when main character Jordan Belford is addressing his employees at Stratton Oakmont he says that "Stratton Oakmont is America" a line that when I originally say the film stunned me. This line can assess as Belford simply trying to justify his horrible actions throughout the film. Or you can infer a much darker take on it like I did when I watched the film. Stratton Oakmont is a summary of how capitalism has progressed in America and how the wealthy have been able to prey on those in poverty. Much like earlier in the film when Belfort threw his watch into a sea of Stratton Oakmont employees and cheered them as they fought over it. Belfort's rousing speech works the employees into a frenzy over the Steve Madden IPO which is a hot stock that Belfort is pushing hard to sell. Little do they know that all they're doing is pushing more money into Belfort's own pocket and all he has to do is present that age old promise of the rags to riches story that America has become obsessed with throughout its existence. Belfort uses the lure of capitalism to make himself more rich at the expense of the poor and those less fortunate. However the most horrible crime committed in this film is not a fault of Jordan Belfort's but it is the fact that the FBI agents that helped convict him had to go back to their normal mundane lives while Belfort was able to use his wealth and status to gain an advantage in prison and also get a short prison time. After Belfort was released from jail he then went on to become a sales instructor in which he was able to regain his fortune in a small way. The Wolf of Wall Street does have a very comedic tone and does offer a lot of shocking sequences but there is a method behind the madness. Scorsese does something in this that he has done well for his entire career, He holds up a camera at America to society and lets us determine what he's trying to say. And in this picture I see a country whose priorities are not in the right order.