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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Dallas Wiertella
Dallas Wiertella
Multimedia Editor

Through my experience here at the North Wind I have been able to have the privilege of highlighting students through all forms of multimedia journalism. Whether I'm in front or behind the camera, I aim...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Wall Street debauchery unveiled in Scorsese film

“Sell me this pen.”

This is something a job-hopeful might hear in an interview for a corporate career in sales. In the 1990s, the young man responsible for the concept, Jordan Belfort, began his ascent and, ultimately, descent into the decadent world of Wall Street.

With director Martin Scorsese at the helm and the acting styles of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Rob Reiner, Kyle Chandler and a brief (but  notable) appearance by Matthew McConaughey, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is one of the most mentally-stirring movies to hit theaters from Scorsese’s playbook since “The Departed,” released in 2006, and “Shutter Island,” released in 2010.

However, “The Wolf of Wall Street” takes everything people have ever learned about Scorsese-films and throws the corrupt reality of a twisted businessman at them, in detail. When I say detail, I mean it. Every bag of cocaine bought and used, every naked body of every prostitute and every con practised, revealed by Belfort himself (DiCaprio) as narrator, while he builds up his company, Stratton Oakmont, from an abandoned maintenance garage.

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DiCaprio pulls off an amazing transformation into the train-heading-for-broken-tracks that was Jordan Belfort during his Stratton Oakmont days. Scorsese successfully taps into the actor’s full range of ability, placing him in nearly every scene and allowing him to channel the charismatic and dominating personality of Jordan Belfort straight into the action. While “The Wolf of Wall Street” may be an acquired-taste, DiCaprio’s performance makes the movie a must-see on its own.

Across from DiCaprio is Jonah Hill playing Donnie Azoff, Belfort’s friend and vice president of Stratton Oakmont. While increasingly shocking, Hill’s take on the real-life Danny Porush, Belfort’s right-hand man during his fraudulent activities, is nothing short of memorable. Hill’s recognizable improv-driven humor appears occasionally, but it’s quickly evident that this character is nothing of the sort Hill has done before. Together, DiCaprio and Hill form a tour de force of schadenfreude, or pleasure at the misfortune of others.

To put it bluntly, this film is definitely not for the faint of heart or easily-offended. One publicity mistake  could be found in the movie’s advertising prior to its release on Christmas Day of 2013. According to many critical-analyses from sources like Metacritic and The New York Times, advertisements failed to allude to the extreme-usage of profane language and sexual content. The film actually broke the record for the number of f-bombs used in a nondocumentary film.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, I was not mentally prepared for the excessive sexual acts and nudity, an effect Scorsese might have actually intended for his target audience. As the movie progressed and Belfort descended into corruption and drug abuse, I began feeling disgusted knowing the events of the movie are based on a very true story.

The first-person narration made many of the intensely profane acts funny or more enlightening than the scenes would be without narration. After reading the book written by the real Jordan Belfort, I realized most of the narration is taken directly from the written words of the actual Belfort himself.

This directing angle effectively constructs an “invisible wall” that allows the audience an inside take as Belfort brings himself to success and, eventually, destroys himself. For example, during potentially hilarious scenes of Belfort catatonically high on drugs, one must remember this is based on truth. Scenes might be funny or hard to digest, but Belfort did this to himself, which is what Scorsese is attempting to show his viewers.

Overall, “Wolf” is a must-see, especially for Scorsese-fans. However, I encourage curious movie-goers to think twice before bringing their families or people younger than 17 to this film.

Scorsese doesn’t hold back and DiCaprio’s fine acting forces one to question how a person could ever do that to himself and others in the name of success. In fact, Scorsese had to remove content in order to make it rated R and not NC-17.

By the end of the movie, it is safe to say the best method for selling someone a common pen, according to the Jordan Belfort of the 1990s, is to ask the person who gave you the request to try writing their own name. When they cannot, since they gave you the pen to sell, they will need to buy the pen from you just to carry out your request.

Such is the wisdom of one of the most infamous fraudulent stock brokers of this age.

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