The Wolf of Wall Street is a 2013 film directed by Martin Scorsese starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort. It focuses on the real-life story in the corporate financial world including the trading of stocks, supply and demand, sales, business taxes, and banking laws.
Belfort made his high-minded and money-crazed ambitions come true per se through the help of sex, drugs, and sins; but along the way, his selfish desire and depravity drove his life down the hill.
The movie is primarily based on the life of Belfort when he started a career in one of Wall Street’s trading firm, L.F. Rothschild, as a stock broker. In this firm, he learned the dirty rules of working in Wall Street, that is, debauchery. Still on his 20s, after L.F. Rothschild closed its doors due to Black Monday, Belfort found his way to Long Island Stockbrokers wherein he was educated about the pink sheets or penny stocks.
Concurrently, with his trusted compeer, he finally founded his own brokerage firm, Stratton Oakmont Inc., where he makes tons of wealth by swindling stocks from millionaires.
As this reaction paper’s purpose is to relate the topics that have been discussed in my classes about Banking Laws and The Law on Sales and Credit Transactions in general, I am enumerating three unlawful situations that I found to be unjust, and some ideas of which I have understood throughout the whole film.
There are illegal actions that were seen, and there were tumultuous existing laws that have been broken in the movie – The Wolf of Wall Street.
First is the stock manipulation. (Stock manipulation – is a form of fraud that employs deception to artificially inflate or deflate the price of a security according to Investor Words). It is against the law as it is an act of deceiving people to make a profit. Basically, if you see it from a normal person’s point of view, it is the same as stealing. Relating to Jordan Belfort, he started doing this scheme since he was educated from Long Island Stockbrokers. From the pink sheets, he does the fraud from people with little pockets to the 1% of the wealthiest Americans.
Second is money laundering. (Money Laundering – is a crime whereby the proceeds of an unlawful activity are transacted, thereby making them appear to have originated from legitimate sources according to AMLA 2001 Sec.4). Jordan Belfort broke the Anti-Money Laundering Act, as per relation to the stock manipulation where he committed fraud whereas all the profits coming from this activity are all considered as dirty money. From this swindling, he made it appear like everything he does and every fortune he gets comes from a legal source but the truth is he only drum up new ways to cover his unlawful tracks.
Third is the inappropriate payment of taxes and violation of security laws. Jordan Belfort used a nominee, who owns a great deal of shares of stocks, who thought his money kept on increasing but the truth is everything is just stated on paper whilst there is no real money involved.
As Jordan said, “But the way we were using nominees to secretly buy large blocks of Stratton new issues, violated so many security laws that the SEC was trying to invent new ones to stop us. Of course, we weren’t the only ones on Wall Street taking advantage of this; in fact, everyone was. It was just that we were doing it with a bit more panache and brazenness.” This clearly stands a point that Stratton Oakmont Inc. was indeed an illegal jungle of investment trading. In addition to this detail, they used this same scheme to Steve Madden Initial Public Offering and there again, Jordan committed another unjust act for defrauding and using misleading statements.
From this point forth, at a personal level, I don’t seem to relate on this movie as I am still a little unaware of how the corporate world actually works. But then again, as my course is related to Business and I have subjects and topics included in my curriculum that existed in this film such as Business and Banking Laws, Sales, Financial Accounting, Economics and Taxation, I can say that I got myself more familiar with the terms that were discussed particularly about laws, and how these things are actually applied in real life situations.
The film held my interest because I was curious of how Belfort’s life will unfold until the end. Apart from it being a movie by Leonardo DiCaprio, his portrayal of the character, Jordan Belfort, was brilliant. Started off as an ambitious and goal-oriented little boy to a man who is full of greed and ended up becoming a swindler, a sinner, and a drug addict rolled into one manipulative businessman. It was nauseating because of the ups and downs that happened in the film but that is what took my interest and made me want to finish watching it.
The Wolf of Wall Street is entertaining, impressive and at the same time, disturbing. The comedic part of the show was amusing and makes you wish for Jordan’s success but then you will realize that he’s a masterwork of conning, so you somehow forget about the fun times and you will suddenly feel disgusted.
Jordan Belfort’s narration of his fraud on Stratton Oakmont Inc., though he sounded like a total douche bag for deceiving the Securities and Exchange Commission and the government, is somewhat odd yet I can consider it as enjoyable.
It’s also impressive; the director of the film was genius for prominently showing how the success was measured on material magnificence. Armani, Gucci, Ferrari, Chanel – you name it. These signature brands become the voice of the saying that “We succeeded in life.”
Jordan Belfort’s persuasive and electrifying “Pick up the phone and start dialing!” shouts made it appear how pathetic he is and how addicted all his cronies were to gain fortune from illegal sources. It showed how they wanted more, and that more is never enough so they will always fall into the trap of debauchery. At the end of the day, I can sum it up as something that revolved around the word ‘Greed’. Sadly, it’s all about greed.
There are also scenes that make me cringe. The part where they were pounding their chests as they hum a certain melody which Jordan learned from Mr. Hanna is very troubling. To me, it honestly looked as though they are a bunch of crazy psychopaths waiting to pounce on a weak prey.
Another thing was the constant use of the word “Fuck!” all throughout every line. Not having been raised in an environment where cursing is a norm, it will most likely make you hate the film especially if you are not exposed to that kind of life that Jordan led. But it’s funny how you will love to hate it. There are also a lot of pornographic content, which is not the main idea here, however it is best that one comes prepared and forewarned upon watching this movie. Although personally, I don’t think that there is a necessity to depict such vulgar and immoral acts as it does not affect the meaning that the film wants to convey.
Through the end of the movie The Wolf of Wall Street, I realized about the reality that we will soon welcome when we become degree holders. Money and fame need not to be the measure for success; you just have to set your own goals and achieve it with hard work and don’t get blinded with an easy but dirty fortune. Money doesn’t really make you a better person neither it is a grand slam home run but, it is the root cause of evil.
As a soon-to-be professional that will work on the financial business world, I get a glimpse of the different strategies a business can have. I also got the chance to be more educated about sales through Jordan Belfort and I think that it is one of the positive sides of watching this film. To sum it up, I’ll sell a pen that meets your needs but not as a commodity but as solution to your problem.
Note: I wrote this for our finals in Law on Sales, I feel like sharing it ’cause maybe it’ll be of help. If you’ll use it, just please state the proper credits or reference. Thank you! ❤️