SilentDawn’s review published on Letterboxd:
The blood flows through his veins. Whenever he has the opportunity, he seeks the blood of others. The life-force of others. The livelihood of others. The soul of others. Every single penny and ounce of blood is ripped to shreds by the gnashing teeth and the devilish grin of the wolf. A creature that stalks in the shadows of the woods, the clear mist of the rolling fields, and in the depths of the American ecosystem; nothing stops a wolf from his clear-eyed stare into relentless bloodshed and eventual destruction.
Jordan Belfort, despite his likability and his unorthodox charm, is a seedy individual that shares almost every characteristic with a typical gray wolf. Or timber wolf. Or western wolf. However you know them by.
One of the most prominent aspects of a wolf's existence is their inherent quality of running in packs. Covering roughly 9% of their usual territory each day, which is usually about 15 miles, wolves are in a constant search for prey. Staying close together allows for maximum force when in the middle of a hunt as well as when a pack is pushing dangerously close to the territory of another clan of wolves. In a way, wolves are as mechanical and organized as any other human individual, steadily carrying out their daily tasks without fluff or excess.
Yet, it is interesting how well Jordan Belfort corresponds to this way of life. His firm, Stratton Oakmont, is a breeding ground of up and coming pups. Learning the tools of the trade, being seduced by the rush of it all, delving headfirst into that rush, and then coming up for air just before you're all out of breath; It's a contained environment of debauchery, overflowing with decadence but taming the lavishness so nothing overflows. When Jordan speaks, everyone listens. It's as if everyone was birthed from his seed, not sexually but morally. They shout, cheer, wither, and cling to him like a god. He is a part of them, forever leaving his mark because to them, he started America. Forget about George Washington and John Adams, they're nothing but faces on the bills that they're using to snort up their expensive coke.
And yet, their sincerity is dumbfounding. In Martin Scorsese's towering vision, not a second of film falters in confidence and truth. Not one character, save for Naomi, is disappointed for how they lived. Within all the coke, Quaaludes, hookers, marching bands and dollar bills flying in the air like confetti is not a hint of disappointment. Stratton Oakmont fought until the end, and even when multiple people were walking out with their hands cuffed, spirits were not down. Did the FBI win? In theory, of course they did. They conquered corruption! They took down excess and pure debauchery that was plaguing the American System! Nevertheless, Agent Patrick Denham is riding the subway alone. Proud, honored, full of fulfillment and satisfaction, but alone.
And where is Jordan? Alone in a crummy jail cell? Nope. He's playing tennis, rather poorly I might add, with other rich bozos that will get out in a couple years just like him. The selling of the pen continues. The recruitment continues. A wolf seeking a new pack. An audience, not lured in by a badge or by the promise of a free gun given by the bureau, but by money.
The finest film of 2013, A great American movie, and one of Martin Scorsese's absolute finest. Now beat your chest to that.