Plot: In The Wolf of Wall Street DiCaprio plays Belfort, a Long Island penny stockbroker who served 20 months in prison for defrauding investors in a massive 1990s securities scheme that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street and in the corporate banking world, including shoe designer Steve Madden.
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US Box Office: $116,900,694 World Box Office: $389,600,694 Opening Weekend: $18,361,578
The Wolf of Wall Street Movie Review
Source:Matt Zoller Seitz
Article: Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" is abashed and shameless, exciting and exhausting, disgusting and illuminating; it's one of the most entertaining films ever made about loathsome men. Its star Leonardo DiCaprio has compared it to the story of the Roman emperor Caligula, and he's not far off the mark.
Adapted by Terence Winter from the memoir by stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who oozed his way into a fortune in the 1980s and '90s, this is an excessive film about excess, and a movie about appetites whose own appetite for compulsive pleasures seems bottomless. It runs three hours, and was reportedly cut down from four by Scorsese's regular editor Thelma Schoonmaker. It's a testament to Scorsese and Winter and their collaborators that one could imagine watching these cackling swine for five hours, or ten, while still finding them fascinating, and our own fascination with them disturbing. This is a reptilian brain movie. Every frame has scales.
The middle-class, Queens-raised Belfort tried and failed to establish himself on Wall Street in a more traditional way—we see his tutelage in the late '80s at a blue chip firm, under the wing of a grinning sleazeball played by Matthew McConaughey—but got laid off in the market crash of 1987. He reinvented himself on Long Island by taking over a penny stock boiler room and giving it an old money name, Stratton Oakmont, to gain the confidence of middle- and working-class investors. Per Wikipedia, at its peak, "the firm employed over 1000 stock brokers and was involved in stock issues totaling more than $1 billion, including an equity raising for footwear company Steve Madden Ltd." Belfort and his company specialized in "pump and dump" operations: artificially blowing up the value of a nearly worthless stock, then selling it at a big profit, after which point the value drops and the investors lose their money. Belfort was indicted in 1998 for money laundering and securities fraud, spent nearly two year