The Wolf of Wall Street came in for a fair amount of flack, especially in the United States, as a film glorifying the excessive nature that some believe Wall Street to be. That is entirely missing the point of this excellent movie. Based on the true story of stockbroker Jordan Belfort’s rise and fall and his manipulation of the stock market to pocket millions of dollars, Wolf is told from Belfort’s point of view, there is no remorse, there is no guilt at how his actions affect others, and this is what some folks didn’t seem to understand.
This also makes for a hugely entertaining movie and is director Martin Scorsese’s best work since 1990’s Goodfellas. Like Jordan Belfort, Goodfellas Henry Hill never really tried to change for the better, he didn’t find redemption at the end of the story, he didn’t want to change. He just got caught. In both The Wolf of Wall Street and Goodfellas, Jordan Belfort and Henry Hill are the bad guys. These aren’t the sort of people to be lifted up as pillars of the community but that doesn’t matter. If you watch either of these films and decide that you wanna be a gangster or turn scams ripping people off, you’re missing the point.
Belfort isn’t Gordon Gekko from Wall Street either. He isn’t cunning or an evil genius. He’s just good at spinning a yarn, at convincing people to part with their cash, because as he puts it “it’s better off in his pocket, as he knows how to spend it”. Belfort’s talent is that he’s a great salesman and that he can motivate and teach others how to do the same.
Leonardo DiCaprio, giving his best ever performance, plays the title character of Jordan Belfort. You have never seen DiCaprio like this. At one point in the movie, he’s laying naked on a table with a candle sticking out of his butt. He’s taking drugs, lots of drugs, in almost every scene. He’s fucking hookers every chance he gets and even though Belfort doesn’t give a toss about anyone DiCaprio still manages to make you like Belfort.
He should have won the best acting Oscar for this. No doubt about it.
Belfort’s main accomplice is Donnie Azoff, played by Jonah Hill, who helps him set up his firm for their pump and dump scam with penny stocks. Jonah Hill also deserves a mention as, even with DiCaprio being on top form, Hill just knocks it outta the park, with his performance being his career best.
To tell you too much of the plot will ruin the film, but if you like ‘Goodfellas’, or ‘Casino’ or even ‘Catch Me If You Can’, you will enjoy this.
This is the best film of 2013.
Acting: DiCaprio and Hill are clearly having a blast, with the entire cast all bringing their A-game.
Writing: The screenplay was written by Terence Winter, who also wrote The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire.
Direction: Martin Scorsese is on top form.
Is it a CGI-fest: No. Hookers and drugs need no CG with Belfort around.
Run-Time: at 3 hours it’s long, but being excellent you won’t even notice.
Should I Buy It or Rent/Stream: Buy it. No question.
It may not be the best flick to watch on a first date with someone, as a friend of mine stated after watching it “thats the closest you’re gonna get to porn in a UK multiplex”. But DiCaprio rocks and will turn even his most ardent critic around. Hill is brilliant and Scorsese controls things at a note-perfect tempo. A must-watch.