For someone that hasn’t watched The Wolf of Wall Street, the storyline unfolds very similar to these scenes that I photographed as I was watching it:
Scene 1 – Man on top of the universe
Scene 2 – Man down
Scene 3 – Man judged
Scene 4 – Man sentenced and humiliated
Scene 5 – Man jailed
This is basically the storyline; however, one important element that I failed to mention before is that this is a Martin Scorsese film. That being said, you and I both know that this film is anything but as simple as thisstoryline is.
Needless to say – Wall Street is a wild place. One can see this every day on any given news channel: when the bell rings and the floor opens, it is filled with brokers making calls, running around, shouting and engaged in all types of commotion. This is the sophisticated Wall Street that we see on CNN, CNBC, Fox and other news networks. Mr. Scorsese brings us into his world – his genius mind translates the unseen world of Wall Street as only he could imagine it. Sex, drugs, lies, intrigue – everything sordid you can imagine is included in this film; everything except murder, unless you would like to consider ruined reputations as murder.
One of the first things that piqued my interest as the film opens is the lion strolling around the office. For me, this symbolically lays the foundation of who Jordan Belfort would become to his constituents – a lion in charge of his pride. Ironically, the director chose the title of wolf to describe Jordan, which is the same description in the title of the book. The opening scene, which is in stark contrast with the title, implies to me that even though Jordan may have seen himself as a lion or a regal, charismatic person before his pride; the outside world saw him as a vicious wolf leading a pack of vicious wolves. After this opening scene, came countless scenes of wild, reckless and carefree behavior, all at the investors’ expense. Nobody was safe or innocent in Mr. Scorsese’s interpretation of Wall Street, except maybe Jordan’s young children. Everything and everyone else were savages who basked in the essence of greed whether it was Jordan’s father – who was a co-conspiring accountant who tried to cover up his son’s wretched lifestyle in order to protect the family name; or Jordan’s wife’s sweet ol’ aunt who was just as much a shady villain, helping him launder money in offshore accounts.
I could go on and on about the good, the bad, and the ugly on Wall street; however, this is not my aim in this blog. Everyone can draw their own conclusions about the largest and most powerful “invisible” trading firm in the world. Instead my focus is on how Mr. Scorsese took the taboo nature of what he believes goes on behind the scenes on Wall Street and turned it into an ongoing extravaganza of drug induced chaos, not just on the business floor but in how these people live. The rogue characters, the wild music, the abrupt changes in scenes all really give you not only the visual cue that this is a crazy world but you can also feel that this is a crazy world. It is an incredible 3 hours of satire and propaganda at its finest and it’s no wonder that it racked up on Academy Award nominations for the following: Best Picture, Best Director (Martin Scorsese), Best Adapted Screenplay (Terrance Winter), Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), and Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill); and has gone on record as Scorsese’s highest grossing film to date.
Photos taken by Mel from screen shots of The Wolf of Wall Street.