Thursday, 16 January 2014

'The Wolf of Wall Street' Film Review

Nominated for five Academy Awards (Best Film, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Lead Actor and Best Supporting Actor), I decided to give Martin Scorsese's latest offering 'The Wolf of Wall Street' a watch.

Based on the memoir, Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) works as a stock broker for a Wall Street firm, under Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey), teaching him that the only way to survive the industry is sex and drugs. After earning his brokers license, the firm liquidates and Belfort loses his job.

Finding a job in selling penny stocks, Belfort soon makes a small fortune and starts up his own firm, recruiting new friend Donnie (Jonah Hill) and several cocaine salesman friends. His new found fortune leads him to great success, great parties and a life of debauchery. Belfort's life changes when he meets Naomi (Margot Robbie), a beautiful lingerie designer, with whom he has an affair with and consequently divorces his wife for her. 

Despite making millions, Belfort is addicted to making even more money but is soon involved in an investigation by the FBI, which soon turns his life upside down with lies, aggression and betrayal.

The film opens with speed with slick scenes, shot with a familiar Scorsese style that gives pace and tension. However, at over two hours long, the movie navigates an almost destination-less plot line that just suddenly crashes at the climax like the economy.

Scorsese's exploration into the lavish life of a wall street broker was met with mixed results. Whilst some praise the film for portraying the honest rise and fall of Belfort; and the satirical take on the side of Wall street we don't see, others criticise the movie for glorifying the excessive lifestyle and lack of morality the characters abide by.

Personally, I feel the movie documents the physical and mental trajectory of Belfort as he rises to fame and fortune and the tragedy that ensues is ironically self propagating, yet unstoppable. Whilst it may appear that Belfort is in control at all times, the events that occur are not always in his favour and the obstacles that arise almost seem conveniently 'unlucky', yet Belfort never seems to show any sign of change or remorse for his actions.

The dark dramedy has a strong climax and here I feel was DiCaprio's best performance in the movie, giving an intensity that has yet to be seen by him in any other movie, even 'Shutter Island'. Though the conclusion was slightly less slick, it manages to end with style and in a way, point to the beginning of another cycle of Belfort's life.

Leonardo DiCaprio- Jordan Belfort
Jonah Hill- Donnie
Margot Robbie- Naomi
Matthew McConaughey- Mark

Also stars Kyle Chandler, Jean DuJardin and Jon Favreau.

Leonardo DiCaprio reunites with director Scorsese for the fifth time (The Departed, Shutter Island, Gangs of New York...) and delivers a strong performance as the money hungry Belfort. DiCaprio is very engaged with the character and gives a genuine portrayal that is believable, garnering a nomination for a Best Actor Academy Award.

Supported by rising Aussie star Margot Robbie (Neighbours, About Time) who delivers an emotional performance with a believable Brooklyn accent, a surprising Matthew McConaughey and Jonah Hill, who got nominated for a supporting actor Oscar (WOW).

Whilst Martin Scorsese's 'Wolf of Wall Street' may be polarisng to viewers due to the themes of drugs, sex and a record breaking use of the F-word, it is no doubt a solid piece of movie making by the legendary director: A satirical exposure of Wall-Street.


  1. A very fast three hours, Wolf is a fascinating, revolting, outlandish, uproarious, exhilarating and exhausting master work on immorality.

  2. Excessive & entertaining, Martin Scorsese's wild tale of greed & spoils of sex, drugs & debauchery earns its R rating & a big tick for Leonardo diCaprio who lets fly with no safety net in a dizzying rollercoaster ride of misguided morality.


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