The Wolf of Wall Street – an inspiration for Eztrader traders?
You might have heard of this movie because of the famous actor of the year Leonardo DiCaprio or because you are already a successful Eztrader veteran. The movie is based on a memoir of the same title, by the Wall Street scoundrel Jordan Belfort, who cheated his clients out of tens of millions of dollars, ratted on his friends, and was indicted and jailed for securities fraud and money-laundering. Set in the period from the mid-eighties to the aught, it’s a three-hour-long satire of loathsome financial activity and extravagant debauchery, and it’s meant to epitomize everything that has gone wrong with trading, money culture and in the stock market. Scorsese employs a flexible narrative form and a free-swinging style of filming. (Rodrigo Prieto is the cinematographer.)
A bold movie about trading
The camera plunges into groups of stock brokers, cleaving their numbers. It swings over them and then swings back, like some video-enhanced boomerang. “Wolf” has great, giddy moments, and Terence Winter (“Boardwalk Empire”), who did the adaptation, creates flurries of raucously cynical dialogue that hit you like a rapid series of jabs. Leonardo DiCaprio puts his voice, his body, and his handsome face, which he contorts into a grimace, into what is certainly his largest performance yet. But the entire movie feels manic and forced, as though Scorsese is straining to make the craziest, most over-the-top picture ever—as if he is determined, at seventy-one, to outdo his earlier triumphs, “Raging Bull” and “Good Fellas,” and to show that he’s still the king. Put crudely, this is his attempt to Out-Tarantino Tarantino.
Is trading on Wall Street as glamorous as trading on Eztrader?
It’s a moment with a terrifying, Olympian blend of compassion, disdain, and anguish; it shows a fatal lack of imagination combined with a desperate range of unfulfilled desires. The shot shows not just an audience, but the audience: Scorsese puts the film’s viewers face to face with themselves, charges us with compensating for our lack of imagination and fatal ambition through contact with the wiles of a master manipulator. Just as the fictionalized Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is presented at the seminar by a host (who, in a diabolical cameo, is played by the real-life Belfort), so we, the movie audience, have been introduced to Belfort by another enthusiastic impresario, namely Martin Scorsese, who knows perfectly well that he is giving us something that we want, something that we need, and something that taps into dreams and ambitions that are both central to life and completely suspect.
Will this movie inspire you to start a career as a trader?
DiCaprio, who keeps selling rather than acting his character just like many try to sell socks on Eztrader, is the ultimate victim of Scorsese’s over-driven vitalism. You feel like you’re being back-thumped into admiring his version of Jordan’s self-presentation. In all, he gives one of the most completely externalized performances in the history of the movies. Everything is big, and he turns himself inside out physically. Writhing and then crawling on the floor in a Quaalude overdose, he rivals Lon Chaney in his contortions. (The physical excess, in its stupid way, is meant to be heroic, though no one could punish his body as much as Jordan Belfort does and continue to look like Leonardo DiCaprio.) DiCaprio has enormous physical range, but the performance is spiritually constrained. Jordan lacks complexity, contradiction, insight. No doubt there are terrible people on Wall Street, but it’s naïve to put a man this limited at the center of a three-hour-long epic. Illumination never arrives.