The Wolf of Wall Streeet is the latest collaboration between Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese. It’s an adaptation of Jordan Belfort’s memoir of the same name and has been nominated for five awards by the Academy and more importantly now holds the record for the most number of fucks ever said in a cinematic release.
The story is a very common one of destruction and greed. Jordan Belfort is determined to be a millionaire and does so by attempting to enter Wall Street. However, after the market crashes he moves off the beaten track and into the penny stocks where he comes up with the idea of attempting to sell these penny stocks to the rich. From there Stratton Oakmont is born and a world of debauchery and mayhem is unleashed, with prostitutes, midgets and copious drug use being the order for the day.
Now the main talking point of the film appears to have been the level of debauchery that is displayed. I have no problem with that. Nothing on screen offended me and the only thing I did notice was the lack of equality when it comes to the flesh on show for the male and female characters. While women constantly parade around naked the men seem to prefer to keep some of their clothes on. However, I feel that is Hollywood’s problem as much as this films. I also think they could have cut at least 3 or 4 of these debauched scenes and we would have still got the point. This film is three hours long. No film should be three hours long.
Now on the other hand this film made me laugh a lot. Pretty much the whole way through to be honest. While DiCaprio continues his fantastic form of recent years as Belfort. He is utterly captivating the whole way through. I mean you hate the bastard, you really do, because he’s not a good human being. He’s a horrible human being and yet he oozes charisma and charm, something you can’t help occasionally being caught up in. Much easier to hate is Jonah Hill’s character Donnie Azoff who while hilarious shows exactly how greed and power can corrupt people to become horrible little shits. Hill portrays it brilliantly and is well deserving of his second Oscar nomination.
Alongside that there’s a great supporting role from Matthew McConaughey as Belfort’s original mentor, who sets him on the path to what he becomes. While he only really appears in one scene, during a lunch, it’s a scene stealing role and sets the stage brilliantly for what is to come. While Margot Robbie shows she is much more than a pretty face in her role as Belfort’s wife Naomi and takes a position that could have easily revolved around her looks and gives it a depth that could have eaily gone missing.
Alongside the performances you have to praise the script in this movie. Yes, it is over long at 3 hours, but it has to be said it feels a lot shorter as it whirs along at a frantic pace and as I said it never fails to be funny. I also believe that anyone who thinks it glorifies the lifestyle Belfort lived has not been paying attention. His unravelling in the final act of the film is expertly done and shows just how much this man has screwed up his life. The gasps when he finally snaps, in a violent scene involving his wife, were audible in the screening I attended and anyone that watches that and believes that this man has come out of his experiences unchanged is not paying attention. Yes he maybe didn’t get the jail term he deserved and could have been punished a lot harder, but the film acknowledges that and makes it clear this is not a man who will live his days out in peace.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a fantastic piece of cinema and while it is unlikely to get all the recognition it deserves because of it’s nature, it certainly deserves some. This is a movie that continues to prove DiCaprio is one of the best actors of his generation and that Scorsese is one of the best directors of all time.