Hey, This is my first time writing something like this. I thought I would try something different. So, I might make a series of articles like this in the future. But, for now, let's start with the very successful movie of 2013, The wolf of wallstreet and my thoughts on it and what I idea I think the movie was trying to convey.
I saw the movie last night as I was bored and had nothing more to do. At first I thought of watching another cult classic. Forrest gump. But, then I decided to watch that later and went for the wolf of wallstreet. I don't watch very many movies. So, this was a change of pace for me. Also, SPOILER ALERT for anyone who still haven't watched the movie.
Let's start with the plot of TWOW.
It's about a man who wishes to make money. Lots and lots of money. In the main characters own words, he wishes to be a millionaire. It starts with him being a decent man at first just trying to make enough money so he doesn't have to worry about it for the rest of his life. But, as soon as he becomes a broker for Wallstreet the market has crashed due to black Monday and he is out of a job. Then he finds himself dealing with slightly dodgy and illegal penny stocks and soon uses his experience and wits from Wallstreet in the small streets to dupe normal working-class people like plumbers out of their money. He is drowning in money due to the high commission fees but his thirst for money only gets bigger rather than being quenched. He hires people just as greedy and immoral as him and starts playing in the big leagues again. He sells shitstocks(not unlike people selling shitcoins to beginners in crypto nowadays) to people and keeps making money and along the way picks up an addiction for drugs, prostitutes and all the things that usually lead to ruin of a man. The decent man at the beginning of the movie is nowhere to be seen and in place, we see a man devoid of morals drowning in hedonistic behaviours.
But, soon enough. The FBI is on his tail along with the SEC. While the SEC tries to cut him a deal as long as he comes clean and steps down, but the FBI wants to step on his throat. He first contemplates cutting a deal with the SEC but his ego gets in the way and he continues his debauchery behaviour like market manipulation, stock fraud and all one can think of. Chaos ensues and then just like how the house always wins in the casino, the FBI wins. They arrest him along with all his buddies. And at the end of the movie, we see him selling courses on how to sell with precious and greedy eyes all looking at him to learn from him his ways.
The lesson I think in this movie is how human greed takes over morality and how cults or groups can affect us into thinking the most abnormal behaviour as the norm and we lose touch with our previous selves as soon as money is in the mix along with some peer encouragement. But, there are some positive takes from the movie we can take as well. Just as how group encouragement can make us be the worst of ourselves, it can be argued that group encouragement can make us the best of ourselves as well. Groups or cults are simply amplifiers of behaviour and instincts that already exist in us rather than seed givers that sprout something new in us. As we can see, from how Belfort wasn't able to bribe the FBI agent even though we learn that Denham was also had a strong want for money. We also can conclude that one man can't change anything narrative is false. Belfort alone was able to influence thousands of people and take the biggest money-making street by storm in less than 2 years.
On the other hand, one can argue what Belfort did wasn't so different from what other people in authority do. We know about the insider trading many senators did at the start of the pandemic without any repercussions. This makes you think how different the rules are for the average joe in contrast to people in power and government. One can say, Belfort was simply the average man giving the middle finger to the ones at the top. Even though he effed everyone to do it.Mostly other average people. One can argue he was the peoples representative. Though a representative of our worst instincts and behaviours. But, he is a hero in the sense he stood up to people in power. And lost just like what happens to the average man when they stand up to authority.
In conclusion, Belfort is the average man who wanted to make money so he didn't have to worry about money but in the process, due to bad influence and greed becomes a man who basically builds a cult for himself. In the end, all I can say is, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."