The Wolf of Wall Street

Comedy is not normally something I would associate with Martin Scorsese or with Leonardo DiCaprio. Yet thats exactly what they set to bring us in this black comedy based on the memoir of Jordan Belfort.

Taking a job as a stockbroker in 1987 Jordan Belfort (Leonardo Dicaprio) takes his first step in the immoral world of Wall Street and begins conning many people out of their money as he gets filth rich off their money and indulging in a world of cocaine, prostitutes and excess. However the party can’t last forever and soon Belfort’s dodgy dealings start catching up with him.

The Wolf of Wall Street does not open quietly, with Belfort indulging in dwarf tossing, receiving oral sex in a car and taking drugs out of a prostitute’s bum. Subtle it is not, and thank god for that. Scorsese pulls you into Belfort’s world of excess and you can’t help but be swept away by it all, no matter how obscene it all gets. For most of its running time the film is a brillant, almost slapstick comedy with DiCaprio’s Belfort at the dispicable centre of the action.

I was surprised at how hilarious DiCaprio was. I know he’s a great actor but I didn’t know he how funny he was or what a great phsyical performer he is.  My favourite scene was when Belfort-incapacitated by drugs and lying on the ground of his country club tries to make his way to his car outside. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen on film in ages.

Although DiCaprio is the performance everyone will be talking about he is also surrounded by a great supporting cast. Standouts include Jonah Hill as a partner in Belfort’s firm Donnie Azoff (complete with comedy false teeth), and newcomer Margot Robbie also makes a memerable apperance as Belfort’s second wife Naomi and not just because of her now infamous full frontal scene. There is also a great cameo from Matthew McConaughey as Mark Hanna, Belfort’s former boss and mentor who is suitable bonkers with his chest pounding and advise to start taking drugs during the day, among other ‘interesting’ advise to relax.

Although the movie is at heart a black comedy the tone changes gear towards the last third of the film as the consquences of Belfort’s actions catch up with him, and his already messed up relationship with his wife falls spectacularly apart.

If theres any negatives to this film its that there is no one to root for in this film and there’s no moral to take from it (unless ‘if you’re rich you can get away with anything’ counts as a moral ) but Scorsese has dealt with many anti-heros before and by casting the naturally charismatic DiCaprio in the lead role you can’t help but get swept away by it all. His casting is vital to the movie as you need to believe that he could con so many people and be so blindly admired and followed by his collegaues.

Some viewers may feel that the film is glorfiying Belfort’s actions, especially as his victims do not get much of a voice in this film, although I find it hard to believe anyone would see this movie and want to emulate him. But maybe thats just me. Others may find that Belfort’s success after his conviction being a motivational speaker and writing his memoirs a bitter pill to swallow considering the lives he’s ruined. However in Scorese and Dicaprio’s hands you can’t help but be engaged in the story of Belfort, even if you are rooting for him to get his comeuppance too.

Rating 4.5/5 -Obscene, excessive and brilliant, Scorese and DiCaprio once again show why they are a team to be reckoned with.

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “The Wolf of Wall Street

  1. It’s so very, very long and could have definitely been cut-down in quite a few spots, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t have a great time with this. Almost every single second there was something new, exciting or just plain entertaining for me to see on the screen and just enjoy. As if I was there with these guys, except not making nearly as much money as them. Good review Lauren.

    • It was very easy to get drawn into their world and I was having such a laugh I didn’t think about how long it was-and normally long films really bug me. Thanks for commenting.

  2. This movie made me so mad. Yeah, it was well done, but mostly it just made me hate people.

    • I can see what you mean, there wasn’t exactly anyone you could call likeable in the film. It’s one of the few films where you’re willing for the main characters to get caught and sent down for their actions. I think the casting of DiCaprio was a strong move as he’s very charismatic so he made the film more watchable than it could have been. I expect the fact that the people are so unlikeable will probably work against it when it comes to the oscars.

  3. Yes Lauren, now this is what I’m talking about, someone’s review which is pretty much on the same level as mine. I loved this film, best one I’d sen in the cinema in so long (besides 12 Years a Slave), it is was an adrenaline rush and it was crazy the kind of stuff these guys get up to. The drugs, the women, the alcohol, all that indecency. It is terrible and morally wrong, but it is presented in such a great way, especially in the acting. I think DiCaprio may become one of my new man crushes after this film, he was INCREDIBLE, such a mad man, I love that scene where he gave that speech when he was suppost to leave but changed his mind and started hitting that microphone on his head, amazing. And yeah that scene where he was incapasitated on the floor was hilarious!

    • Glad you think the same as me! This was an amazing film. So many scenes are just so crazy that it’s strange to think this all happened in real life. DiCaprio is just brilliant, he seems to just get better as he gets older and willing to take more risks. Be interesting to see where he goes next in his career.

      • Indeed. What did you think was the most shocking scene in the film for you? For me I forgot to mention, what did you think of the scene when Jordan punched his wife in the stomach? For me that was frigging shocking and so unexpected, it was a short moment, but it stuck out to me so much.

      • Yes the bit where he punched his wife really pulled me out of the moment and shocked me the most. After that it went all very dark which is appropriate all things considering.

  4. There is so much in this film that could’ve gone wrong & it’s able to avoid all that only because of Scorsese. Plus, if you’ve read my review, you know that I’m no big fan of this director but I also can’t deny how much I enjoyed The Wolf of Wall Street & wasn’t bored for a single moment. Arguably, the most entertaining film of the year.

  5. I absolutely had a blast with this film, and I am glad to see that you did, too! Brilliant review!

  6. Excellent review! I agree with everything! I worked for a man whose trainer was the real life Jordan Belfort and he told me that DiCaprio’s portrayal of Belfort was spot on. I think this movie will be a huge contender with Dallas Buyers Club for the Oscars. I loved it!

    • Thanks. Thats a great connection to DiCaprio. It’s strange to think how crazy Dicaprio’s performance is, yet it’s meant to be so similar to the real Belfort. I would love DiCaprio to be recognised for his performance at the Oscars but as its a comedy I doubt it will.

  7. Tom

    Nice review Lauren, this was a lot of fun and I thought that Scorsese did a great job standing back and allowing audiences watching on to cast their judgment as they saw fit. He was merely having to emphasize just how large these terrible people lived to the film kind of had to be this gigantic and the scenes, even though they seemed repetitive at some point, were all necessary (iin my eyes). One of my favorites from last year for sure.

    • Thanks Tom. Glad you liked it too, it was such a funny film and I hope it does well at the Oscars but I expect it will lose out due to the fact its a comedy and a bit controversal.

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