Among the Wolves

Ahsan Akbar in the Dhaka Tribune:

ScreenHunter_483 Feb. 08 16.38Leonardo di Caprio teams up with mentor Martin Scorsese to play Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street, currently the top grossing film at the London cinemas. Based on Belfort’s memoir by the same name, it’s a tale of excess: greed, corruption, leading to drugs, sex and rock and roll, or rather the roll-down effect of losing it all. Books and films about Wall Street and subcultures of the financial district are familiar to us all. We’ve had the run of American Psycho, The Wall Street, Boiler Room; later, Margin Call, Blue Jasmine for post-crash era stories, brought on by a market neither bulls nor bears could explain.

Belfort, a middle-class boy from the suburbs, has only one ambition, to become a millionaire. He will do anything to get there. After losing his job on Wall Street, he soon establishes his own firm, Stratton Oakmont, recruits an unlikely team of men and trains them in the art of selling. They start selling stocks; given their conviction and technique, they could sell ice to Eskimos. Soon, greed gets the better of Belfort, and he runs a number of securities fraud. When things get murky, especially with the FBI watching, he becomes involved in money laundering. One thing leads to another, and before Belfort can get his act straight the chickens come home to roost. It’s a clichéd tale perhaps, but what makes The Wolf different and hugely watchable is Scorsese’s masterly directing, a killer screenplay from Terence Winter, and an eclectic soundtrack. We get the full monty of Belfort’s high life: Ferraris, mansions, yachts, expensive suits, $40,000 watches, call girls, and a whole lot of candycaine. Belfort is different from the investment banker described in Liar’s Poker. For a brief period of time, he is truly a master of the universe, reaching the stratosphere by trading penny stocks and dialing in to Wall Street from Long Island.

More here.