Movies Reviews

Wolf of Wall Street Movie Review

By Anne Brodie Dec 24, 2013, 19:42 GMT

Wolf of Wall Street  Movie Review

Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government. ...more

Scorsese’s frenetic hallucinogenic and cocaine-fueled paean to greed runs 180 minutes and you’d never know it.  The story of stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) seems to fly by, raising the heart rate at every turn, retelling for the umpteenth time the American success story in some of the same ways as David O. Russell’s American Hustle. 

But Scorsese’s camera is truly alive whooshing about giving Leo an extra splash of energy – as if it was needed!   The style and content are standard Scorsese fare but it’s always fun to see how he rejigs the concept fort each decade.

The film features one of the most memorable sequences of the entire year, in which a severely doped up DiCaprio crawling across a country club lobby, down a staircase and across a road and somehow spilling himself up and into his Lamborghini and driving home.  Shockingly reckless and brazen and so deeply entertaining! The image will stay in my memory forever.  Who else but Scorsese and DiCaprio would pull this off so masterfully?

Belfort’s morally flawed, of course, it’s a Scorsese film, he’s greedy, and a womanizer, a liar and trickster, but one admired enough to be dubbed The Wolf of Wall Street and become a media darling.  Belfort’s unhindered imagination and verve get him where he wants to go, but what he does is illegal, smoke and mirrors, the sizzle sans streak, based solely on his personality and gift for gab.

From boiler room to fabulously successful stock brokerage in under 60 seconds; that’s his story and the pacing of the film is faithfully swift.  Speed is the crux of the story.  In a classic case of bullshit baffling brains, Belfort grabs the American Dream even as he self-destructs on drugs, lies and adrenaline because he can’t stop running.  What makes Belfort run?  Still not sure but what a fun ride and thank God it’s no one I know.

DiCaprio gives 110% as ever.  Here that means plenty of physical work to express the effects of long term drug use and moral decay. The looks, the movements, the whole package, he takes big eye popping, brain exploding risks.  It’s his fifth and film with Scorsese and its some kind of gritty, but high toned magic.

Margo Robbie puts in a strong performance as Belfort’s second wife, who knows there is nothing for her behind his drugged out glaze.  Jonah Hill as Belfort’s partner is as strung out as he is.  Belfort’s professional circle is comprised of his childhood friends, people he trusts to back him and cover his bad deeds without question.  The characters actors do a great work and fit nicely into the DiCaprio/Scorsese milieu.

Joanna Lumley shows up as Belfort’s London connection.  She puts him in his place with a stinging caution.  Rob Reiner plays Belfort’s long suffering father who tries to steer him along a better path, unsuccessfully, and Fran Lebowitz shows up as the judge.  Fun times.

But more than fun, The Wolf of Wall Street is an extreme cautionary tale and a slam against outsized thinkers, and those who would have it all for themselves.  It’s poetic, profound, hilarious and tragic, it’s the American way.  It has plenty in common with American Hustle, but Scorsese’s version wins.  Someone always has to win, that too is how things are done.

35mm drama / comedy Written by Terence Winter based on Jordan Belfort’s book Directed by Martin Scorsese Opens: Christmas Day Runtime: 180 minutes MPAA: 18A Country: USA Language: English



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Further Reading on M&C

Jonah Hill Biography - - Jonah Hill Movies -
Leonardo DiCaprio Biography - - Leonardo DiCaprio Movies -
Martin Scorsese Biography - - Martin Scorsese Movies -

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The Wolf of Wall Street

Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government. ...more

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