The Wolf of Wall Street – REVIEW

Warner Bros. Studio

What would you do if you earned a year’s salary in a month or even a week?

Jordan Belfort (played by Leo DiCaprio) as an example throws lobsters around and blows coke up a hooker’s ass.

Welcome to Wall Street, the place where moral is put on the furthest of back burners and drugs dictate your daily routine.

Martin Scorsese’s latest film is based on the autobiographical novel by the original Wolf of Wall Street whose career would shame any Greek orgy and your mother.

We are introduced to Belfort who is a young stockbroker working in early 1990s New York. He gets a whiff of the fast and intoxicating life of Wall Street and thrives in it, trying to achieve the quality lifestyle of his colleagues and opponents. Money driven, he gets advice from his boss Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) whose philosophy is simple: Take drugs. Earn money. Screw hookers. Take some more drugs.

Things work out for Belfort until he is stranded without a job and finds himself in a tiny penny stock trading agency somewhere in Long Island but with his business sense and hunger for the dollar bill still intact, he opens his own trading agency and hires rookies and losers to help him and themselves to get filthy rich.

The excesses Belfort throws and gets himself into are everything you expect having watched the trailer; dwarf throwing, drug taking, orgies and money showers. There are bouncing breasts everywhere and the holy matrimony has lost all its meaning for a grand total of 180 minutes.

Still, while it was incredibly amusing and DiCaprio broke down the 4th wall, much like the film Goodfellas, the film had problems with pace.

World building though it was, you could clearly feel  each section of the film and each was about a third too long. The extra time did nothing to add to the story, nor do we get any more insight into the personality or motivation of Belfort or his friends.

Each character was remorselessly despicable in their own right . Funny and well acted though DiCaprio’s and Jonah Hill’s parts were, I struggled to like or even care about a single one of them.

This might have added to the misgivings of the uncomfortable length of the film, but it sure felt more of a throwaway movie, reminiscent of Catch Me If You Can but without the cunning wit.

The sleazier moments were slow motioned and narrated which took away from the horror or delight of it and made it into a satire, a comedy version of what should have been a serious but fun film.

There are some very memorable moments in this film, with depictions of the effect of certain drugs hilariously acted out and the chaos of the trading floor which is more comparable to the wild west than an office. There is no shortage of testosterone, that’s for sure.

Maybe my expectations were too high as I imagined a modern American Psycho with more sex and drugs, but it is definitely worth a watch. The film audience seems to be divided, it received boos at the Academy Award showing with a group of people even walking out at my particular screening. Controversial, no?

Out in the UK on the 17th of January.




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