Elmer Gantry

“Like Dylan, Jagger or the Band, Leonardo DiCaprio is working himself into a sweat to seduce us — on one level because that’s just what Belfort did to his cronies and victims; on another because he wants our respect and awe, if not our love or affection,” writes Film Comment‘s Max Nelson in a Wolf of Wall Street piece.

“In this respect, the key scene is Belfort’s extended motivational speech to the office near the film’s halfway point. It’s a masterful piece of rhetoric, with DiCaprio assuming a role somewhere between a hellfire Baptist preacher and a general gearing his troops up for battle. By the end, he has his listeners standing on desks thumping their chests and chanting rhythmically, like the crowd at a rock concert or the new converts at a camp meeting.”

“Still, however understandable the crowd’s response might be (it’s a hell of a speech), there’s a limit to how much we can identify with these frenzied white-collar salesmen. The turning point doesn’t come until the movie’s final shot, in which we find ourselves face-to-face with an audience from which we can’t so easily distance ourselves. If only for a moment, the screen becomes a mirror.”

  • Jery October

    “The Brokers go absolutely APESHIT.”

    Did Kenny Powers write this script?

    • pizan܍amore

      I assume it’s capitalized to indicate the sound of apeshit, and not for the benefit of the prop department.

    • Glenn Kenny

      FWIW, in the movie the speech ends at “I want you to deal with your problems by becoming rich.”

      Terence Winter’s not a stupid man. He knows the kind of people who read scripts and can get them made. It profits you nothing to write stage direction as if your ambition is to be the next Celine.

      • http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/ Jeffrey Wells


  • Brian Krueger

    Dicaprio’s speech reminds me of the stuff Charlie Sheen was saying during his meltdown

  • pjm

    Scorsese, being a master filmmaker, has undoubtedly turned this faux-Mamet scene into an actual MOVIE scene, and not another static, stage play monologue by visualizing it in a unique, imaginative and emotionally powerful way. At least I hope he has.

    • DukeSavoy

      Yeah, Mamet’s “Steak knives” speech has better words but Scorsese has got to have better images. Haven’t seen WoWS yet, damn it!