The Real Belfort Story Missing From 'Wolf' Movie - NYTimes.com
Jared Sperli stashed this in movies
At the end of the movie, my reaction shifted. For reasons I don’t understand, the filmmakers and screenwriter opted as their final word to use the real Jordan Belfort to introduce the character played by Mr. DiCaprio. The scene supposedly occurs years later, after the real Jordan Belfort had completed his cooperation, trial testimony and jail term, and began to pitch himself as a paid “motivational speaker.”
The film pans over a rapt crowd of new victims enthralled by the character delivering a snippet of a histrionic speech viewers had seen earlier the movie, when Mr. Belfort used the device to teach his brokers how to rip off innocent investors.
In the film, behind Mr. Belfort and Mr. DiCaprio is a large sign advertising the name of Mr. Belfort’s real motivational speaking company. I suppose the filmmakers’ point is that there perpetually remain audiences for fraudulent scams.
But there are consequences for blurring the lines too much. The real Belfort story still includes thousands of victims who lost hundreds of millions of dollars that they never will be repaid. This began with bogus scripts that Mr. Belfort personally wrote for his legion of brokers to use against them.
When we debriefed him, Mr. Belfort described how he awoke virtually every day thinking of new ways to defraud others. Now, Mr. Belfort sells himself as someone whom others should pay to receive what essentially are variants of the same falsehoods he trained others to use against his victims.
Some might think the movie’s ending is a cute conceit: putting the artist and his muse together on a stage for a final scene. To his victims, it is a beyond an insult. And for anyone who is enticed to pay Mr. Belfort to hear his recordings and speeches, it aids and abets this unrepentant character in possibly duping others yet again. Should it be surprising that following the release of the movie, Mr. Belfort is reportedly negotiating to host a reality-TV show?
“The Wolf of Wall Street” creators can possibly justify excluding victims from their story, but not while they literally give the final scene to the real Jordan Belfort. That might be art, but it’s wrong.
Not only does Belfort get away with swindling people, but now some on Wall Street consider him to be a hero because he was so good at it.
Scorsese wanted to paint a portrait of greed, and instead he created a model others now aspire to.