Millennium Post

Lust, caution

This New Year eve, like every New Year eve before this one, except that one time two years back when I lost a wife and a job in quick succession, I have drunk myself silly and taken the resolve to win the world within the next 365 days.

Fast approaching middle age and obscenely expanding girth have not been able to deflate that delusion. I am hoping there must be millions of sad losers like me around the planet who never make it but never stop believing that they would. But what if you do make it? What happens when you are Jordan Belfort?

Belfort (DiCaprio) is a middle class boy wanting to make it big in the world of bourses. He comes to Manhattan and signs up with mentor-madman (McConaughey even with a bad hairdo is brilliant in this short role).

McConaughey’s advice to him is simple: transfer money from client’s pocket to your own and jerk off as often as you can manage in order to keep up with the high-pressure job. Belfort learns his lessons fast and makes the most of it as the markets crash. He sees big opportunity in being off the books and starts dealing in penny stock schemes and becomes millionaire faster than he gets blown (well, almost).

Most of the rest of the movie is about cocaine, hookers (in a hilarious scene Belfort tells his father the various kinds there are), big cars, bigger homes, yachts, orgies and everything a decadent mind can dream up. If there is hedonism in heroin, this is it. Sex and success are intertwined and the movie displays the upsides of both. In a scene where Belfort teaches his young, inexperienced team how to hook a prospective client by selling lies over the phone, he makes an elaborate gesture of taking a woman from behind to signify a deal being sealed.  There are early reminders that money, drugs and women are best had in moderation. But the movie and the man’s life is about celebrating excess. Who won’t want a blowjob inside a white Ferrari?

Even after the wife leaves and the new one gets ready to dump him, the FBI gets on his heels and cerebral palsy poses the threat of physical breakdown, Belfort carries on with his wolf pack.

After three long hours and many reminders of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, I felt the movie could have fared well with a little less runtime. But who am I to argue with Scorsese’s logic or Belfort’s libido! Especially when Leo DiCaprio is Jordan Belfort himself. It’s amazing to watch the transformation of this boy lover into one of the most fascinating actors of our time.

And at a time when every autorickshaw driver on Delhi street is dreaming of wearing the Aam Aadmi cap and mouthing sanctimonious bullshit, it is refreshing to enter the world of Wall Street wolves and dream the obscene dreams till next New Year's eve.
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