The Wolf Of Wall Street Review

The Plot

The shocking and explicit true story of Jordan Belfort based on the bestselling autobiography of the infamous Wall Street figure. Following the rise and fall of his financial empire, fuelled by drugs, ambition and unashamed greed.

The Good

Leonardo DiCaprio is the perfect personification of Jordan Belfort as a slick talking, slick haired ruthless conman. DiCaprio does a magnificent job at playing the notorious Wall Street Tycoon from his sneering impassioned best to the worst moments of drug addled despair and idiocy. It’s a character which serves as a comfortable combination of DiCaprio’s past roles in Catch Me If You Can and The Great Gatsby; making the most of his smart suited charm and flare for simmering frantic intensity.

Jonah Hill goes a long way towards achieving his self-professed goal of establishing himself as a credible acting talent with an Oscar nominated supporting turn as Belfort’s buck toothed sidekick Donnie. Without Leo’s handsome charms he’s a laughable foul mouthed ball of blubber and bad ideas. He’s responsible for many of the films most depraved and memorably comedic moments.

The Wolf of Wall Street is another visceral masterpiece from Martin Scorsese, taking its place proudly alongside past efforts like Goodfellas and The Deprated. Like many Scorsese films The Wolf of Wall Street is a sprawling tale of the corrupting effect of drugs, sex, money and power. It’s a guilty pleasure of monstrous proportions. Allowing audiences to vicariously enjoy the lurid thrills of unlimited wealth, namely every form of sexual perversion and substance abuse known to the depraved and the powerful.

In the hands of a less competent director it would have been easy for these flashy superficial elements to have overtaken any attempt at genuine storytelling. However Scorsese largely ensures that beneath each degenerate moment there’s an actual story worth paying attention to.  

The Bad

Less enthusiastic critics have been quick to point out the lengthy 3hr run time for Scorsese’s sprawling biopic. Whilst it may have been possible to prune away certain moments of debauchery overall the film does a good job of justifying 180 minutes of visceral storytelling. The film rarely sags or fails to hold an audiences interest with its slick and sordid tale.

Another criticism predictably aimed at the film is that it irresponsibly glamourizes the amoral and often criminal actions of a shameless self-promoting con artist. However amongst all the casual nudity, dizzying drug use and obscene financial excess there’s a constant reminder that this is at heart a cautionary tale not a blueprint for successful living. Exploiting the inherent entertainment of watching flamboyant characters self-destruct isn’t the same thing as endorsing or condoning their painfully ill-advised misadventures.

Don’t let a glossy leading man and trailers which downplay the consequences of the ‘endless party’, mislead you about the film’s true intentions.

The Ugly Truth

Predictably attracting both acclaim and controversy The Wolf of Wall Street is a wild sneering portrait of one man’s joyous self-destruction and the deeply broken financial system that let him get away with so much for so long. Star turns from Dicaprio and Hill inject some degenerate glamour and guilty laughs into a tragically inevitable tale of disaster and ruined lives.

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