Thursday, December 26, 2013


Reel Deal: Movies that Matter review 
Wolf of Wall Street. Director Martin Scorsese

 When I left the screening I felt so dirty and morally assaulted that I rushed home, drew a hot bath, put on Bruce Springfield (yes Bruce Springfield) and tried to soak away the vulgarity, greed and misogyny I had just saw constructed on the screen by Martin Scorsese. It had crept under my skin like a bedbug in blood thirsty attack mode. Made me  want to bolt the theater but I stayed out of artistic respect. In reality WOLF is an exercise in sensory torture. I suspect that he and Leonardo DiCaprio though they were exposing something one only has  to watch Fox News or read the Nation to to learn about. 

WOLF depicts a Wall Street driven lifestyle so devoid of anything close to humanity and a group of people so alienated from authentic feelings that material possessions and extreme behavior is elevated to an apotheosis of self absorption, material gain and conning as an
estimable model Yes it is free market capitalism and  yes it has it so called rewards.

Scorsese's obsession with crime and masculine excess and bonding is not new He started there with Mean Streets and Taxi Driver and in a number of well crafted, memorable films:   Goodfellas, The Departed, Casino. He seems to want to bath in its sheen as he attempts to expose it. Because of his mastery of film-making .. flawless here  again .. and the talent of the production people and the acting ensemble he gathers, he succeeds in making at least for me a film dangerous in the same way a dreadful nihilistic rap or murderous dance hall  lyric encased in beat perfect sound bed takes on all the implications of an anthem. WOLF has an undertow of class snob-ism. Wolf and his despicable broker army are for the most part not the Wall Street,  Episcopal patricians or even the generational tempered elegance of the House of Rothschild. The Wolf pack are in fact the average working class Eli or Brittany with dreams of being rich.The very kind of people who take seriously investing when they buy penny stocks or sign mortgages they can not afford. While there are women characters in this film they are drawn just as greed obsessed as the men and with the most misogynistic depiction will also do anything to be one of the guys including doing each and everyone of them.
 DiCaprio not only stars as Jordan  Belfort , but is  a prroducer of th film. Out of sync with the rest of the casting is Jonah Hill an actor as good as he is,  here fails because  he can not completely erase his humanity even when almost incoherent in a drug induced daze. Hill succeeds in making him more dimensional  than I believe Terrence Winter the writer intended. And Hill's character is the fall guy. For people without hope of bettering themselves movies like WOLF role model rather than critique how to "get over". The fact that the central reason WOLF was caught was a stupid Quaalude mistake does not make a deeper moral or ethical observation but simply says "Watch your drugs and you can have it all " A better movie to look at the pathology of greed and narcissism and the influence of Ayn Rand and her followers including Paul Ryan and Rand Paul is Alex Gibney's " The Armstrong Lie" or a film as brutal in its depiction of the loss of human values without glamorizing them is The Counselor.

Thinking about WOLF maked me realize just how classy The Great Gatsby was. Sorry, Marty but I suggest you might just want to ask yourself just what it is that attracts you to such violence and vulgarity? To want to make this movie in this particular way at your age. I suggest that the important story of the corruption of American values by rewarded unbridled and unrestrained greed is a story well worth telling. But you failed to tell it and come close to in a dark way glamorized it in the same way the crack dealer has been glamorized in popular culture. It may just be your loss of objectivity when it comes to the subject.
(cc) jim fouratt 12/2413 nyc 

meet the real Jordan Belfort: 


  1. The classic Jim I know and love! Happy Holidays! Lynn O

  2. Enjoyed your review, Jim. The video is also quite interesting, a truly fascinating character that Jordan Belfort. Thanks!

  3. Thanks Jimmy, my review is similar. I've loved most of Scorsese for decades, but this is a squandering of his talent.

  4. Interesting review, Jim. I haven't seen it yet and from everything I've heard I don't think I could make it through three hours of it. Sounds like Netflix material to me.