Film Review: 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'
Opened: 17 January 2014 (UK)
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin and Joanna Lumley
Director: Martin Scorsese
Producers: Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland, Emma Tillinger Koskoff
There's a line in Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street in which DiCaprio's character hollers:
"Now I want you...to go out there...and ram Steve Madden's stock down your clients' throats UNTIL THEY ****ING CHOKE ON IT. TILL THEY CHOKE ON IT AND THEY BUY 100,000 SHARES!! That's what I want you to do!! You be ferocious!! You be RELENTLESS! YOU BE TELEPHONE ****ING TERRORISTS!!! NOW LET'S KNOCK THIS MOTHER****ER OUTTA THE PARK!!!"
So subtle this film most definitely is not. But what makes it so much fun are its genius lines and sharp script, ensuring its a movie that will never not be quotable. It's joyously witty, ingeniously acted and directed, and above all so ridiculously offensive with its fair share of gratuitous sex scenes and liberal depictions of drug abuse, that in short – I loved it.
In The Wolf of Wall Street, DiCaprio stars as Jordan Belfort, a rookie New York stockbroker, who takes on a job at an established Wall Street firm, but merely a few months in, the firm goes bust after Black Monday (October 1987, when stock markets around the world crashed). Out of work, and desperate for cash, Belfort takes a job with a Long Island boiler room which deals in penny stocks, through which he earns a small fortune, after which he sets up shop on his own with some with some of his loutish friends. Within no time, after an expose in Forbes, the business, which essentially is a scam, attracts hundreds of young recruits who want to make a quick buck and live life in the fast lane. Thereafter, the film charts Belfort's outrageous life, his rise to the stratosphere and his subsequent fall, after the FBI get wind of his illegal activities.
Astoundingly, the film is a true story based on the book of the same name by the real Jordan Belfort who ended up spending 22 months in jail, but now works as a motivational speaker and author. Perhaps some of the scenes in the film are exaggerated, but overall I found myself hooked on the riveting course Belfort's life takes right from his sex and drug addiction, to the more sensitive, poignant moments when his marriage crumbles.
The film is director Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio's fifth collaboration together after Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed and Shutter Island, and without a doubt it is their best picture till date. Naysayers may argue that the film is 'morally wrong' but the way in which it defines the innate fantasies of our current culture is bang on. Some of the scenes may make for uncomfortable viewing especially for the more conservative among us, but they are undoubtedly laugh out loud funny, and honestly, for its three hour running time, I didn't get bored once.
Of course the entire credit for the film shouldn't lie just with Scorsese. As the greedy, ambitious, nymphomaniac with a heart of gold, DiCaprio knocks it out of the park with his stunning portrayal of the reformed stockbroker. If the Academy don't hand him the coveted statuette this time round, it will be sheer injustice on their part especially given that DiCaprio is probably one of the most talented, underrated actors this side of the Millenium. Besides DiCaprio, credit should also be given to Jonah Hill as Belfort's loyal sidekick, who steals a few scenes from right under the lead actor's nose. Oh yes, and don't miss that sparkling deadpan cameo from our very own Joanna Lumley, who as the shifty English aunt raises a few chuckles in the few minutes she's on screen.
I'm going with five stars for The Wolf Of Wall Street. It's laugh out loud funny, and at times in incredibly poor taste, but stands tall predominantly due to a terrific lead actor and a plot that hooks you from the word go. Miss it at your peril.
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