The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013 Paramount Pictures)
Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill & Margo Robbie. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Written by Terence Winter (screenplay), Jordan Belfort (book). Produced by Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland & Emma Tillinger Koskoff.
“My name is Jordan Belfort. The year I turned 26 is the head of my own brokerage firm I made $49 million, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week.”
And with that, The Wolf Of Wall Street shot out of a cannon in vintage, Martin Scorsese style: the protagonist narration throughout the film, the perfect use of music to augment scenes, the in-your-face cinematography, the mile-a-minute pacing and, of course, the f-bombs. This is hardly an indictment of Scorsese at all. He has a formula that works time and again and The Wolf Of Wall Street succeeds on every level.
The story may seem cliché, and it really is—the rise to success, the decadent lifestyle, the endless parade of women, drugs and money, and the ultimate chase by the feds looking to bring it all crashing down—but when told through Scorsese’s lens, the story is anything but cliché. The man makes selling a bullshit penny stock captivating and engrossing through more than just clever camera angles. The dialog throughout The Wolf Of Wall Street is clever, snappy and funny. But it’s the actors who truly are the straw that stirs this drink. Whether it’s the top line cast, big-name cameos or smaller roles by semi-known people, Scorsese draws out brilliant performances from everyone in this picture…even Bo Dietl, the former cop turned Arby’s ad guy!
As Jordan Belfort, aka “The Wolf,” Leonardo DiCaprio once again delivers a performance for the ages. His intensity as the coke-snorting, ‘lude-popping, hooker chasing Belfort electrifies every scene. But the onscreen chemistry between DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, as Belfort’s right-hand man Donnie Azoff, is priceless. Looking back at SuperBad, who knew Jonah Hill would become so recognized for his acting? As the bespectacled, gregarious guy with “phosphorescent teeth,” Hill steals this movie. He absolutely steals it through his comic timing and ability to hang in there with Hollywood elite and become the most memorable character in the movie.
For better or worse, women are merely props in The Wolf Of Wall Street. It’s really a story about a bunch of frat boy types all hopped up on power, greed and cocaine pillaging the American financial sector every chance they get to satisfy their hedonistic desires. That being said, Cristin Miliote and Margot Robbie turn in solid supporting performances as the first and second wives of Jordan Belfort, respectively.
Here’s something you already know but bears repeating: Scorsese is a genius at telling great stories about people who are flawed and, at times, rotten to the core. He proves once again that he is one of the true giants of American cinema. Funny, intense and a bit jarring, The Wolf Of Wall Street is another Martin Scorsese epic masterpiece.
Rating: **** stars (out of 5)