Drugs, profanity, nudity, sex, and crass humor permeate the new film "The Wolf of Wall Street." While many Hollywood films, like "American Hustle" or "Don Jon," use profanity and even nudity to present a good lesson, "The Wolf of Wall Street" has no such redeeming quality.
"My name is Jordan Belfort," says the main character (Leonardo DiCaprio) as the film opens. "The year I turned 26, I made 49 million dollars, which really p*ssed me off because it was three shy of a million a week."
Belfort makes his fortune – and gets chronically addicted to sex and drugs – trading on the stock market. Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) trains him to use alcohol, various drugs, and masturbation to become a fantastic salesman of stocks. "How the f*ck else do you do this job? Cocaine and hookers, man," Hanna tells Belfort, explaining how each drug helps him relax and focus.
After the "Black Monday" stock market crash of 1987, Belfort finds another job trading penny stocks, far from the glamour of Wall Street. He goes from selling ownership in a major company like AT&T to selling stock in mom-and-pop shops, but making a much higher commission – 50% as opposed to 1%. Then he gets a brilliant idea – sell penny stocks to the richest 1% of investors, and make a killing.
Opening his own company, Stratton Oakmont, Belfort recruits some local salesmen (drug dealers) and strikes it rich. Stratton Oakmont triples in size, and with each successive growth, Belfort hosts a huge party, complete with alcohol, drugs, and prostitutes.
"The Wolf of Wall Street" buys yachts, drugs, and sex and has the company pay for it. He even divorces his wife to marry his sexy mistress Naomi (Margot Robbie), whom he uses to safeguard his money in Swiss bank accounts. "Was all this legal?" he asks, at one point. "Absolutely not!"
Belfort's father, Max (Rob Reiner), warns him that "someday, the chickens will come home to roost," and they do. Here, the movie almost redeems itself, becoming a cautionary tale about the lust for money, drug addiction, and sexual depravity. But when Belfort actually goes to jail, his incarceration ends up becoming a country-club experience. At the end of the movie, he is introduced as "the world's greatest sales trainer."
Belfort gets away with his raunchy, illegal, immoral life, and only pays for it with temporary things. His satisfied look at the end of the movie tells audiences that he considers his personal losses worth the temporary glamour, sex, and power he briefly enjoyed. While a godly person might break down at even the idea of dismissing one wife for another, ratting out his friends, or losing custody of his children, Belfort cares more about satisfying the unquenchable lust that ultimately robs him of all value in his life.
While the violence and profanity of "American Hustle" serve a higher purpose – warning audiences about the destruction of corruption – and the sex in "Don Jon" shows how a man can lose the very idea of love by gratifying lust, these elements in "The Wolf of Wall Street" do not support a redeeming overall picture. The acting, cinematography, and storytelling may be superb – indeed, the film has a 75 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes – but they all fade in light of an irredeemable message.
Below are 5 quotations that showcase the crass, sexual, and profane aspects of the film. "The Wolf of Wall Street" has reportedly set the record for the most f-bombs for a U.S. feature film, with 506 f-swears in its 180-minutes.
- "There is no nobility in poverty…I want you to deal with your problems by becoming rich. You be telephone f*ckin' terrorists!" – Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio)
- "I want you to f**k me like it's the last f**king time. That was the last time we ever have sex. I don't love you anymore, Jordan." – Naomi Lapaglia (Margot Robbie)
- "A greed fest with equal parts cocaine, testosterone, and bodily fluids. I had to declare the office a f**k free zone between 9 and 5." – Belfort
- Hanna "The name of the game, moving the money from the client's pocket to your pocket.
Belfort "But if you can make your clients money at the same time it's advantageous to everyone, right?"
- "When you're sailing a boat built for a Bond villain you've got to play the part." – Belfort