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The Wolf of Wall Street: A Cautionary Tale of Greed, Addiction and Naivete

Scorsese and His Influence on Film Today

When one is talking about some of the best directors to ever grace silver screen with their filmmaking splendour, there is a fine list to consider. Spike Lee, Guillermo Del Toro, Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa and Oliver Stone. Amongst these names however, is one which has produced some of the biggest cinematic masterpieces of all time, some which have been hailed as hallmarks of cinema. This name, of course, is Martin Scorsese.

Throughout his career, Scorsese has brought us a number of gripping masterpieces, from Taxi Driver, to Goodfellas and Casino. In 2013, the director brought us a different type of crime film, one related to financial crime as opposed to his more Mafia Oriented Ventures, this film being the Wolf Of Wall Street, starring talented heavyweights Leonardo DiCaprio Jonah Hill, and Matthew McConaughey.

Plot and Synopsis

The film follows the true story of financial genius Jordan Belfort and his Illicit rise within the world of the stock market, as well as his struggle with drug addiction, his affairs and strained relationship with the two women he marries throughout the film. 

Set in the 1980’s, before anyone even had the fleeting thought of a crypto trading bot, which is essentially an automated trader which automatically makes trades on cryptocurrencies within the parameters set by the trader themselves, and helps them trade in an efficient manner that may save time for the investor themselves, and during the time when even the concept of the blockchain only existed within academic papers. 

Working within a small financial firm and working his way up the ladder through defrauding investors through his charisma, the film shows his fall, rise and then eventual downfall as Belfort’s financial empire falls around him through both his drug addiction, as well as his financial mishaps within the cutthroat world of stocks and the stock market.

The film is adorned with a strong and serious tone, perfectly encapsulating the fervour of wall street during the 80’s, intercutting serious scenes with perfectly well-done humour, all of it brought to the viewer in an extremely convincing manner due to the sheer acting talent by the actors, as well as expert writing from the producers and screenwriters.


When it comes to any well-made film, there is always a number of themes which the director follows to further bring forward the movie’s message. The themes within the wolf of wall street are plentiful but the biggest few are greed, seen in the relentless way that Belfort leaves defrauds a number of people throughout the film for his own gain and benefit. 

The theme of drug addiction is also one which is prevalent throughout the film, encapsulated by the scene in which belfort narrates the different types of drugs he takes just to get him through the day, with the icing of the cake being the iconic scene in which him and his associate Donnie Azoff (Hill) take expired quaaludes, resulting in an darkly comedic montage involving phone calls with swiss bankers, FBI wiretaps and Ferrari Testarossas.

The final theme I’d like to touch on within this film, is the cutthroat nature of the stock market business in the 80’s. While today, we see a more highly regulated market in the world of finance, due to a number of financial criminals such as Belfort, Bernie Madoff and Elizabeth Holmes having a hand in disrupting the stock market, back then it was much more cutthroat. 

People give each other up left right and centre during the movie, some informing on others and getting them arrested to save their own skin, while others are coerced into recording evidence through wiretaps. There is no honour amongst thieves, something Scorsese has portrayed in a number of his films, most notably Goodfellas and Casino, but within the financial sector, this quote is put into a whole new light.

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