Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is a film dedicated to the epic showdown of the delights and dangers of uncontrollably bad, and money obsessed behaviour. It is also proves that the Oscar winning, 71-year-old director has so much energy and vitality to burn. Especially if this film is anything to go by.
Martin Scorsese’s new film is based on the autobiography of Jordan Belfort, a broker who made a fortune on the shifty sales of penny stocks. This lifestyle allowed him to spend a fortune on a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of drugs, sex, and a variety of other self-indulges and this energized and luxurious lifestyle goes on for a grand total of three hours, and I wouldn’t have it any shorter.
The story line in The Wolf of Wall Street sticks pleasingly close to Belfort’s own perspective as his tantalizing voice guides the action from start to finish, but alongside this is Scorsese’s direction that captures Belfort’s raunchy yet dynamic behavior. Scorsese plunges deep into the world of provocative behaviour as we see this shockingly furious energy intertwined with a spiraling and plunging camera, typical of Scorsese. The fun doesn’t end there, it continues to please us with eye-catching special effects, money-spinning fantasies and magnificent cast choreography of a grand scale. All of which is introduced to highlight the protagonist’s point of view. Belfort’s narration is embedded amongst living in the midst of it and addressing the viewers with a clean cut, word-for-word monologue in and around the event, but most of all, it presents two selves, his present and his former self, both of which we actually like.
…Scorsese’s fifth collaboration with DiCaprio and quite easily sits amongst his many award-winning creations…
The Wolf of Wall Street is Scorsese’s fifth collaboration with DiCaprio and quite easily sits amongst his many award-winning creations, as if it was always supposed to be there. It is clean, it is typical (soundtrack and the roaming camera) and it is a laugh-out-loud comedic film.
Only Scorsese could create a film so furious and energetic with cinematic inventions, which are essential to the story, but at the same time, it has a view of predatory manipulations and completely reckless adventures without even the tiniest amount of culpability. Like most of Scorsese’s films, the movie has a sharp rhythmic swing, much the same like listening to a jazz band in an underground club with no escape, but the stylistic and wild performances that ooze out from the cast are exhilarating, and balance well with the soundtrack, as usual.
…an actor with immense passion and impressionism…
DiCaprio plays Belfort and as we are all too familiar with, we know and appreciate how DiCaprio puts his soul into a performance, but with Belfort he was able to lose all inhibitions and let it all go, elbows-out, knee-deep and it was the liveliest most adrenaline-charged performance I have seen from him yet. DiCaprio has always been an actor with immense passion and impressionism, and his talent only grows, yet in most of his films, he has to mimic another person and he does so with grace and with competence. In The Wolf of Wall Street he leaves this all behind as he takes full control, unleashing this stunning spontaneous burst of energy that sears through the screen, much like a bull seeing red. He obliterates the preconception we have of Belfort and replaces it with improvisation coated with gestures of realistic reflections.
Although we can go on and on about Scorsese and DiCaprio, we cannot even begin to forget the cast of The Wolf of Wall Street who subsequently make this film what it is. Jonah Hill, who we often associate with slapstick comedies, gives an unforgettable performance as Donnie Azoff, Belfort’s main partner and friend, but mainly partner in corruption and pleasure; then we have the marvelous Rob Reiner, as Belfort’s father ‘Mad Max’ known for his outrageous temper and annoyance at Belfort’s way of running things; we are then happily given Margot Robbie, who plays Naomi Lapaglia, Belfort’s mistress and then second wife whose performance was mesmerizing, and then we get that happy surprise of Matthew McConaughey, in a sad but brilliant brief role as Belfort’s first mentor, although I have to say I was hoping he would come back during the finale side of the film. The cast, put together by Scorsese brings together a glitzy and laud caliber of talent, who’s each performance adds to the flamboyant nature of the film.
…a unique and penetrating look into how greed can corrupt us…
Although the film is long, which for me isn’t at all a downside, the film is never dull, thanks to marvelous performances all round, but mainly to DiCaprio, whose performance should be a front-runner for an Academy Award for his extravagant performance. In general, turning prose into cinema is challenging and exciting, and having to turn words into reality is a hard job by any standard, but we appreciate this and it matters to us which is why we wouldn’t want anyone other than Scorsese to do this for us. The Wolf of Wall Street is a unique and penetrating look into how greed can corrupt us, but it is put to us in a way that is lucrative and obsessive, that by at the end of it, we still wish we had the experiences of Jordan Belfort, even if we know the difference between right and wrong.