The Wolf Of Wall Street, Reviewed By Teri Youngman.
Excess is the word of the day in Director Martin Scorsese’s latest film The Wolf Of Wall Street, based on the best selling memoir of infamous finance kingpin Jordan Belfort, is a film that earns every bit of it’s R rating due to its often very graphic depiction of the debauchery filled lifestyle of the key characters of the film, and stars Leonardo DiCaprio in the fifth team up between the superstar actor and legendary director.
DiCaprio stars as Belfort, who we are first introduced to as a Stockbroker for the Wall Street Firm L.F. Rothschild in 1987.
After losing that job due to the firm’s bankruptcy, Belfort begins selling penny stocks at a small Long Island boiler room, soon turning that firm into a huge success, by aggressively pitching his penny stocks to any person unassuming enough to fall for his song and dance.
Of course this is all a big scam, and he’s really just defrauding these folks by exchanging them crap for money, while he adds gratuitously to his bank account because the penny stocks have a higher commission than the run of the mill ones he would’ve been selling at a conventional Wall Street firm.
Belfort soon befriends Donnie Azoff (played here by Jonah Hill), a salesman neighbor of Belfort’s. The two decide to go into business together, starting their own firm and running the penny stock scam on a much larger scale, recruiting several unscrupulous characters to their cause along the way, including marijuana dealers.
They name their firm Stratton Oakmont and things really begin paying off for Belfort after an article in Forbes Magazine dubs him,The Wolf of Wall Street, attracting many more financiers to his firm along with the attention of the FBI, when agent Patrick Denham (played by Kyle Chandler) begins investigating him.
With the success comes the excess, as Belfort and his associates regularly indulge in wild parties, drugs and prostitutes.
Belfort himself becomes highly addicted to cocaine and quaaludes, and often cheats on his loyal wife Teresa (played by Cristin Milioti) who was with him well before his Wall Street days.
Belfort’s womanizing soon leads him to begin an affair with Naomi Lapaglia (played by Margot Robbie) a beautiful, gold digging piece of arm candy who he eventually leaves Teresa for and remarries.
The high life is great for Belfort until his drug addictions and FBI investigations eventually all catch up with him and his world comes crashing down.
The film is, long, profane, and…funny.
Some scenes are of the laugh out loud variety, such as a particular one in which Azoff offers Belfort a very powerful batch of quaaludes, that take a little long to kick in, but when they do, they really do.
The fallout from the scene is pivotal, but the scene itself is hysterical to watch.
Scorsese is once again at his best exploring the criminal lifestyle and he, along with writer Terrence Winter, really do a great job in bringing a vulgar humor to this film, that really keeps the viewer entertained, even as you watch horrible people do horrible things.
The film belongs to Leonardo DiCaprio who chews up the scenery here, injecting tons of energy, along with his signature charisma and electricity, into every frame, continuing his streak of amazing performances that he’s been on for the past decade or so.
The supporting cast is also mostly strong here led by Jonah Hill, who mainly serves as comic relief in his role as Azoff, but also shows some depth once the film heads to its climax, when the crap really hits the fan.
Matthew McConaughey is also brilliant is his small but memorable role as Mark Hana, Belfort’s boss and mentor at the Wall Street firm, training him in the decadent ways of Wall Street, and teaching him to embrace drugs, sex and masturbation as keys to success.
Hana also teaches Belfort a bizarre chanting ritual that he adopts and uses again and again throughout the movie, a chant that is a very memorable part of the film.
The women characters unfortunately are mostly just props in the film, without much character development for any of them.
The lone exception is Naomi’s Aunt Emma (played by Joanna Lumley), who is very interesting in another small but important role to the film.
If you’re like me than you might not mind a little T and A in a good movie, but to some moviegoers bits like the Airplane Orgy scene in this movie might be a little much.
The film is long, and the length is definitely something I took issue with, as the movie started to drag a bit towards the end, where it seemed as if 30 minutes or so could have been shaved without hurting the story.
My biggest problem however, is that there is a certain been there, done that feel to the film, due to its similarity to other Scorsese pictures, most notably the 1990’s gangster classic Goodfellas.
Overall this is a very good movie, and while not the best Scorsese picture ever, it’s certainly his best in years and possibly the best team up between he and DiCaprio, though that may be debatable for for fans of The Departed.
I’m giving it 3 and half bags of popcorn out of 5.
Teri Youngman is an actor and movie fanatic, whose love of South Seattle is second only to that of his lustful obsession with cinema.