Reviews

The Wolf Of Wall Street

5

Greed is very, very good.

“I always wanted to be rich,” rattles the voiceover of Wall Street broker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), inevitably recalling goodfella Henry Hill’s “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” The cacophonous trading floor spreads out before Jordan’s wide blue eyes: green numbers hurtle across bulbous screens; manic men scream into phones. “You wanna know what money sounds like? ‘Fuck this, shit that, cunt, cock, asshole’.”
 
Welcome to Martin Scorsese’s 22nd feature film, another of his examinations of the rites and rituals of a particular sect, be it the wiseguys of ‘70s Little Italy (Mean Streets) or the society scions of late 19th-Century New York (The Age Of Innocence).

With its rise-and-fall arc, its hedonism and hubris, its gleeful exploration of the dark side of the America Dream, its money, crime and narcs, its sex, drugs and rock’n’roll (though the soundtrack also takes in Madness, Simon & Garfunkel and a fair bit of Euro pop), The Wolf Of Wall Street forms a loose trilogy with GoodFellas and Casino. And if it can’t quite match the energy and quality of those classics, it nonetheless stands as Scorsese’s finest for 15 years.
 
When we first meet Jordan Belfort, he’s more pup than wolf, his lowest-rung job at L.F. Rothschild requiring him only to “smile and dial”. A first-day lunch with big boss Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey, hilarious) sows the seeds of the chaos to come, though: Hanna advises him that the stock market is “all fugazi” while preaching the worthlessness of morals and the necessity of greed, cocaine and, to stay relaxed, jerking off twice daily. Then, on 19 October, 1987, the very day Jordan becomes a licensed broker, the market crashes and Rothschild goes under.
 
Jordan joins a penny-stocks firm in Long Island, employing a bunch of expert salesmen (mainly weed) from his old Queens neighbourhood and making Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill, terrific) VP despite his phosphorescent teeth and shoulder-slung pastel sweaters.

The triumphant result is named Stratton Oakmont, and if there’s one thing these guys know how to do, besides sell, it’s party – Jordan blows $26,000 on a lunch, is married to a model, shags prostitutes five, six times a week, and hoovers Quaaludes, Xanax, cocaine and morphine. It’s only a matter of time before the FBI (in the form of Kyle Chandler) come calling…
 
Perhaps deciding the crazed behaviour is enough, perhaps thinking he took stylistic verve as far as it could go in GoodFellas, Scorsese shoots largely with a static camera. His use of whip pans, crash zooms, freeze frames and tracking shots proves so infrequent that Spielberg, visiting the set, suggested he might want to move the camera. But TWOWS is far from muzzled.

New collaborator Rodrigo Prieto’s busy compositions combine with old hand Thelma Schoonmaker’s confident cutting to create pace and bustle, and DiCaprio, slick as his black hair and resplendent in a flurry of sharp suits and loud ties, routinely addresses viewers down the barrel of the lens.
 
It is, of course, all part of Scorsese’s plan to charm viewers into accepting Belfort’s outrageously selfish, unthinkingly cruel behaviour. It works, too – more so because Terence Winter’s (Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos) screenplay cleaves to our anti-hero, refusing to investigate the fallout of his misdeeds as he steals from rich and poor alike to line his own pockets (and mirror). It’s a decision some will take issue with, just as some, justifiably, accuse Scorsese of being in thrall to his gangsters.

But this is Jordan’s tale, and it’s sold by a magnetic, never-better DiCaprio. “I fucked her brains out… for 11 seconds,” runs the voiceover as he collapses on top of Naomi (Margot Robbie), a beauty who is to become his trophy wife. Humour and bracing honesty go a long way towards balancing Jordan’s shockingly aggressive pursuit of ‘happiness’.
 
A touch too long, yet never slack, at three hours, TWOWS benefits from independent funding, Scorsese’s brass balls and an A-grade cast’s turbulent improvisations to emerge as an epic, boldly broad screwball comedy about the state of America, then and now.

Verdict:

Despite the US censors trimming back the screwing and swearing, this is an audacious, riotous epic. Scorsese and DiCaprio’s fifth and best pairing, it’s liable to give the Academy a heart attack.

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Film Details

User Reviews

    • moviemind91

      Dec 18th 2013, 17:21

      I hope this is the film where the Academy finally realise how much of a good actor Leo really is

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    • Ali1748

      Dec 18th 2013, 17:33

      I can't wait to see this. Sadly I thnk Leo will be out of luck come Oscar time cause that catagory is stacked this year.

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    • barryc

      Dec 19th 2013, 21:09

      Yeah I agree with the above poster, I'm afraid Leo will lose out thanks to bad luck yet again. 12 years a slave is more oscar bait, I think best actor will come from that movie also

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    • Hadouken76

      Dec 20th 2013, 1:12

      Playing a yuppie a$$hat doesn't smell of Oscar. I think Chiwetel Ejifor will walk it.

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    • Ali1748

      Dec 20th 2013, 11:05

      Don't count out Mathew McC, we all know Oscar loves a good comeback. Granted he's not making an Affleck comeback but it wasn't that long ago Mathew was stuck in the Rom Com genre. Wonder if Jonah Hill might land another supporting Oscar nod.

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    • Mattsimus

      Dec 20th 2013, 13:30

      To be honest it all comes down to timing in an actors life in regards to when they receive their accolade....... unless an exception occurs and there is a clear cut winner and everyone is raving about said performance, e.g, colin firth in kings speech or daniel day lewis in err everything!.... That being said Leo is underrated, under rewarded and over delivers in everything, he's deserved it in most films hes been in with the exception of titanic, romeo and juliet and of course critters haha but should have won it in whats eating gilbert grape, basketball diaries, blood diamond and aviator, I could go on so either way he should get it for this! but will prob lose it again for some b******t political reason!

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    • Ali1748

      Dec 20th 2013, 15:44

      I don't think it's politics this time, it's just that this years awards season is stacked to the brim with outstanding performances and movies, with the exception of the actress category. I do agree though about Leo being undervalued and appreciated with the academy. I mean this is after all the same academy who waited till The Departed to give Marty his Oscar.

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    • Mattsimus

      Dec 20th 2013, 16:51

      There's truth in some of that but that just indicates that if there's fierce competition then Leo cant get a look in and its only possible for him to win if the entries are average or less? That in itself is not correct, he's as much competition as the rest of the competition and could himself have won it multiple times and never has, in fact I think its only been the golden globes that really recognized him a few years ago for Aviator, this year he should win it purely based on the fact he should have won it years ago. There is a lot of talent again this year but Dicaprio is part of that, Oscar makes a lot of really great actors wait years for deserved awards, Al pacino finally for scent of a woman, Jeff bridges finally for crazy heart, sean penn mystic river, although sean penn then won it again for milk it should have gone to Mickey rouke for The wrestler!..... This garbage just goes on and on.

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    • nancysaxby1

      Dec 21st 2013, 21:35

      my Aunty Audrey just got a nice 9 month old Chevrolet Equinox SUV by working part time off of a home computer. Check This Out a­p­p­2­0­0­.­c­ℴ­ℳ­

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    • nancysaxby1

      Dec 21st 2013, 21:46

      My Uncle Sebastian got an almost new red Acura RL by working part time from a computer... view ­a­p­p­2­0­0­.­c­o­m

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    • katienelson

      Jan 4th 2014, 2:09

      4

      Such an awesome movie! FYI, I just seen The Wolf of Wall Street online for free at moviesatyou dot com

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    • Ali1748

      Jan 26th 2014, 13:46

      5

      Boy has Marty still got it. The Wolf of Wall Street is insane!

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    • matthewbrady

      Jan 31st 2014, 18:48

      5

      If Leonardo DiCaprio does not a Oscar for he's role in this movie then they is going to be a rant.The wolf of wall street. This is one of the best films of 2013, the acting, the directing was superb with out no words.

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    • bossvoyevoda

      Feb 8th 2014, 20:16

      My question is — is this movie doing anything new? At this point, “white Wall Street conmen experience meteoric rise and disgraceful plummet, as accompanied by prostitutes and drugs; cause us to question our own social values” isn’t new ground to tread. In a year where we had some pretty cool and unusual things happening in mainstream cinema (an animated “princess” movie where the most important relationship was between two sisters, a space thriller whose face was a middle-aged woman, a high-grossing action movie starring a young woman, a sci-fi blockbuster where 2/3 leads were NOT white men, a female buddy-cop movie), this just seems….tired. And honestly, nothing in this review is making me think the movie is going to ask any questions that haven’t been asked a million times, in similar explorations. Pass, sorry.

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    • Claudius101

      Feb 20th 2014, 0:36

      Leonardo DiCaprio lands an Unstoppable! with his streak of successful films lately. His career has known an uprising in the last couple of years with films like: Blood Diamond (2006) ; Body of Lies (2008); Shutter Island (2010) or Inception (2010). What these movies have in common good cast good directors for instance freaken Martin Scorsese, a sure-successful recipe that lands these movies with a decent impact on the market, media and public. Mainly you cannot go wrong with the choice of team. DiCaprio has picked and has been picket lately into great cast that propelled him in the main attention of the media today and once again. His comeback since Titanic has to do with his late films and criticism or appraisal that they received. The wolf of wall street is a good mix of ideas from the book of Jordan Belford. The book and story in the film revolves around his live achievements and PROUD failures. Although Leonardo DiCaprio is a good fit for the role, (this in my own opinion more than Anything!) is a bit far fetched in some scenes. For instance in Blood Diamond he plays Danny Archer a smuggler. The roles of bad dudes or overpowered people rarely suit DiCaprio, again just in my thought. But his character although he poseses great skills as an actor; are not suited for 'bad guys' roles. They are a bit far-fetched, and these movies seem to try to depict a really bad guy or grey morals character with what we can see is a decent person in his real life. It's just not him in some scenes. It is exaggerated. Everything could work if the films aproach these main characters more realistically or presenting a dual contrasting personalities in these Characters that Leonardo portrays. Overall the Wolf of Wall Street is a great film in comparison with what got out in 2013 and today, and that is not saying much. Not saying much at all as independent artists emerged with unfortunate, unproductive and unintuitive short budget films. Maybe we can put the blame on the short budged. But where there is a lack of budged there should not be a lack of ideas. I think the independent film genre is just a bit too young but it's definitely improving. If we take a look at really decent short-independent-films some of the ideas portrayed there would leave us with the mouth wide open. Going back to the film, yes indeed a good story with decent characters and overall exciting pace. The pace is the best virtue of the film as it keeps everything together. But a second watch at the film would be rather disappointing and the audience would relive that the film is a one off and not watchable a second, third time like some really good classics( Godfather;dammit!). Enjoy a decent film in nowadays and keep an eye out for really good ones.(World War Z) - an unexpected great surprise of a film.

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    • mariawitviky

      Mar 30th 2014, 18:36

      5

      What an awesome movie it is!! Leo done an outstanding work in this he looks so cool dude. Can anyone tell me when it comes on tv and i really want to see this movie on ad free channel i.e hbohits.in

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    • larissadadonput

      Mar 31st 2014, 17:34

      @LOise, you make $27h thats great going girl good for you! My story is that I quit working at shoprite to work online, seriously I couldn’t be happier I work when I want and where I want. And with a little effort I easily bring in $35h and sometimes even as much as $85h…heres a good example of what i’m doing, >>>>>>>> CHECK44.COM

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