Cinema Salem hosted a special cinematography panel for The Wolf of Wall Street, and I learned a lot of things about film production. Cinema Salem owner Paul Van Ness said The Wolf of Wall Street is his theaters most walked out on film. Fans in attendance, which had before seen the film, voiced their opinion on the walkouts, and a debate spawned about the message of the film. Does it glorify greed, or is it a lesson in the dangers of self-indulgence?
After watching the film, it is clear that Martin Scorsese was simply telling a story, in the vein of a black comedy, while having us look in a mirror. What would you do if you were a greedy hedonistic stockbroker named Jordan Belfort? Would we be victims of hubris or walk the righteous path?
Everyone fancies living a gluttonous life of luxury, but that doesn’t make us bad people. No one dreams of the rise and fall when living vicariously through the likes of Jordan Belfort. We only romanticize the peak where nothing goes wrong because that’s the fun part.
Take the film Scarface. Tony Montana’s popular line “SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND” is one of the most quoted lines in cinema’s history, but we don’t actually want to shoot anyone.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a shameless and exhilarating roller-coaster ride that is unapologetic on every level. Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas approach brings a multitude of laughs and jaw-dropping moments while drawing stellar performances from the cast.
Leonardo DiCaprio pulls no “f-ing” punches with his portrayal of Jordan Belfort, Margot Robbie is perfect as Belfort’s seductive trophy wife, Naomi Lapaglia, Jonah Hill is riotous as the lude-popping Donnie Azoff, and Matthew McConaughey’s short-lived brilliance as Belfort’s muse is worth the price of admission.
It’s not hard to understand why some moviegoers would not enjoy the fictionalized exploits of a Wall Street sleaze. If you’re able to put that aside, this is a film you will thoroughly enjoy from top to bottom. Opinions are running rampant, but no matter which side of the fence you’re on, we’re all howling with The Wolf of Wall Street.