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Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

Posted by Larry Doyle on January 2, 2014 9:08 AM |

Martin Scorsese certainly knows how to make movies and Leonardo DiCaprio sure can act. The talents of both the director and the lead actor in The Wolf of Wall Street will attract many people to the theaters, and may win Scorsese and DiCaprio some awards.

The debauchery displayed by DiCaprio’s character Jordan Belfort and his band of morally degenerate colleagues at the bucket shop Stratton Oakmont generated a fair bit of laughter in the audience at yesterday’s show that I attended. The activities displayed may be the stuff of a frat-boy’s dreams but were in truth far more deranged than they were humorous.

Stratton Oakmont’s boiler room operation is not a reflection of the pursuit of the American dream run awry but rather of an industry that operates under a less than rigorous self-regulatory model.

The film’s depiction of SEC regulators being toyed with by Stratton Oakmont executives is indicative of the general public’s perception of regulatory incompetence.

How is it that customer complaints if not outright whistleblowing about Stratton Oakmont’s operation did not put an end to the criminal behavior far sooner? All too much evidence has shown the arbitration process on Wall Street dealing with customer complaints and whistleblowing are forced to run up a very steep hill in trying to expose bad practices. That reality was not only prevalent back in the ’90s but is even still in vogue today.

What is my final takeaway on this film? In a word, disturbing. Upon exiting the theatre, there was no real sense of patrons having been entertained. As one patron commented, how is it that the predatory nature of guys like Belfort could leave so much destruction in their wake and yet be sentenced to only three years in prison and ultimately serve less than two?

There is something seriously wrong with that picture.

Navigate accordingly.

Larry Doyle

Please pre-order a copy of my book, In Bed with Wall Street: The Conspiracy Crippling Our Global Economy, that will be published by Palgrave Macmillan on January 7, 2014.

For those reading this via a syndicated outlet or receiving it via e-mail or another delivery, please visit the blog  to comment on this piece of ‘sense on cents.’

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I have no business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

  • Peter Scannell

    An income advisor, a financial blog master, possibly a best selling author, and now a movie critic – you wear many hats well LD.

  • Always Learning

    “Upon exiting the theatre, there was no real sense of patrons having been entertained.”
    Not every movie is meant to entertain. One of the missions of this film may have very well been to leave the audience feeling disturbed, not entertained.

  • Jay

    What was disturbing is how the FBI had to come in

    The SEC was giving them a pass and tried to bail Jordan out but he wouldn’t take the deal.

    The FBI agent dismissed the SEC as a Self Regulatory when Jordan declares that they are in his office constantly for reviews.

  • Senka Boston

    Everything I knew about Wall Street was
    actually nothing till I saw this movie last night – you can hear about
    this, read about this, but until you see it you can’t even imagine
    what’s actually happening. This reminded me of orgies in the old
    Rom – money, sex, drugs, more money…never enough money – and all of
    this in such extremes that ‘regular’ people can’t even comprehend
    it…and what shocked me the most was audience reaction – they were
    laughing like they watching a comedy, still not realizing that these
    people are running and ruining their lives.
    The main character even
    asked the FBI agent who was investigating his firm – “Why don’t you look
    into Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, do you know what they’re doing
    with CDOs? I can tell you everything, just ask…”

    every day I’m hearing from people who are losing their homes via fraudulent foreclosures and evictions, losing their life savings due to the biggest ponzi scheme ever perpetrated a.k.a. MBS – mortgage backed securities

    Foreclosure Fraud Survivors blogtalk radio founder and host

    • Senka,

      There are certainly plenty of moral degenerates on Wall Street and they do tremendous damage and destruction BUT having worked in the industry for the last 30 years I am compelled to inform you that the overwhelming percentage of people on Wall Street are good, decent, honest, and hard working individuals. I count many as great friends.

      People like that might not make for good movies but that is the truth.

      I welcome writing aggressively about bad practices on Wall Street and within the system as a whole but to paint everybody in the industry with a broad brush is a disservice and just plain wrong.

      • Senka Boston

        I believe there are …however their voices are not being heard enough, and that must change in order for us to start believing again in our justice system.

    • Always Learning

      Many were laughing in the theater I was at, too. Especially the scene where the Belfort character was practically in paralysis at the country club after downing excessive qualudes. It was another disturbing aspect of the movie, namely why did so many find these scenes humorous?

  • The prosecutor of Jordan Belfort says the movie, The Wolf of Wall Street “never should have been made.”

  • IT IT UP

    Hollywood ‘overlooked’ the awesomely relevant
    60th Anniversary of the KOREAN WAR?
    ———-to bring us done-to-death
    —————–Oliver Stone retreads – – -like this???

    SCORSESE heading into his 3rd decade of NOWHERE!

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