Review: The Wolf of Wall Street
Written by-Steven Panzarella (@ProCreate Steve)
The Short- A debaucherous good time fueled by vintage Scorsese storytelling and Oscar caliber work from Leonard DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. Marred in controversy Wolf doesn’t condone the real life criminals the movie is based on but shows the effect of living such a life. Wolf of Wall Street doesn’t apologize for its graphic drug use, nudity, and F-bomb filled dialogue; In fact, it embraces all of it completely.
The Long Version-
Some of Martin Scorsese’s best movies, such as Casino and Goodfellas unapologetically show you the world of organized crime through the eyes of the mobsters themselves. The characters that occupy a normal Scorsese film would be considered villains in any other crime drama. For nearly 3 hours we root for them to succeed in everything from murder, racketeering, to getting away with making millions of dollars off penny stocks. So when we meet Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) a fledgling stock broker in New York City, he’s impressionable, money hungry, and looking for the upper hand. Following an informative lunch with a company higher up (a short lived appearance from Matthew McConaughey) we see Jordan take on a new form as a guy who knows how he has to live in order to make his millions. In the hilarious scene featuring McConaughey, Belfort learns the importance of drinking, drugs, and greed among other keys to a successful day in the world of Wall Street.
Leonardo DiCaprio is at his most memorable as the greedy Wolf of Wall Street. It is his obsessive drug use, philandering, and greed that makes him a caricature of what Gordon Gekko was in 1987’s Wall Street. DiCaprio is unbelievably outrageous and funny in a performance that absolutely leaves the actor’s comfort zone resulting in his most colorful performance to date. The highlight of Leo’s performance might be his fantastic fourth wall breaking Leo might be excellent but it is Jonah Hill, as Belfort’s right hand man Donnie, who steals the show. Donnie is uncontrollable, unfiltered, and the most unlikeable of all of bad guys in Scorsese’s tale of bad guys behaving badly. Hill steals every scene he is in and shows how useful comedic acting can be in a drama about a topic that is so ludicrous it’s comical. The breakout performance from Wolf was from Margot Robbie, the stunning aussie actress boasts a thick New York accent and big attitude. Robbie steals more than one or two of her scenes alongside DiCaprio and gives a performance that could have Hollywood knocking on her door.
There has been controversy surrounding The Wolf of Wall Street stating that it condoned what Belfort did but in my opinion the film was more of a cautionary tale of what happens when greed becomes paramount. It’s a hilariously fun ride because the things these people are doing are so awful, and so ridiculous, that the only safe reaction is to laugh. Wolf does not give you an opportunity to sympathize with its’ victims, which suits the story of Jordan Belfort and is one of the many reasons Wolf Is sure to become a Scorsese classic.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a drug and sex fueled 3 hour marathon. It is brutally honest about the people and time but more importantly it is as much fun as you will have in a movie theater this year. With the help of an incredible cast we find a master director still churning out classics.