UK Release Date: 17th January 2014
Runtime: 180 minutes
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Terence Winter
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Jean Dujardin, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner
Synopsis: A young stockbroker builds a multi-million dollar firm around playing the system, fuelling a lifestyle of drink, drugs and debauchery.
This year, American Hustle gave us an elegant pastiche of the work of Martin Scorsese. But now, the real thing has arrived in the shape of epic true life crime comedy The Wolf of Wall Street, which is three hours of unadulterated, ludicrously entertaining decadence.
Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a naive young stockbroker, shown the ropes by an old pro on his first day (Matthew McConaughey). When Wall Street collapses, he falls into a firm that sells penny stocks and smells blood in the water.
With business partner Donnie (Jonah Hill) in tow and a new wife (Margot Robbie), he builds his own firm based on playing the system. All is well until FBI Agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) begins to investigate the company.
| "The year I turned 26, I made 49 million dollars, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week."
The Wolf of Wall Street is an excessive portrait of excess. Are there too many scenes of miscellaneous shagging and snorting? Possibly. Is that the point? Absolutely.
Martin Scorsese has decided with The Wolf of Wall Street that the best way to portray the true debauchery and decadence of Jordan Belfort’s existence is to emphasise the absurd lengths he and his peers went to achieve their slightly hazy American Dream.
By some distance, this is the funniest film to come out this year, featuring some excellent comic set pieces. Many of the jokes are dark, but they befit the film’s tone. One scene in the film’s final hour, showing the disastrous effects of Qualuudes, is one of the best slapstick sequences of recent years, showcasing the excellent comic skills of diverse lead Leonardo DiCaprio.
| "This right here is the land of opportunity. This is America. This is my home! The show goes on!"
This is DiCaprio’s film from start to finish. He is in almost every scene and balances foul-mouthed eloquence with immense physicality to construct a remarkable antihero, whether he’s simulating sex on a plane or popping enough pills to sedate a herd of elephants.
His performance is fearless and ferocious, managing to work alongside the constant changing tone of The Wolf of Wall Street. He won’t win the Oscar, but he’s never been better.
Jonah Hill is solid in his supporting role and Margot Robbie works hard with the meagre material Terence Winter’s script throws in her direction. But DiCaprio’s huge display dominates them all. This is the Jordan Belfort show, in every way.
| "If anyone’s gonna fuck my cousin, it’s gonna be me. Out of respect."
Scorsese has hit another classic with The Wolf of Wall Street. Along with 12 Years A Slave, this is the 2014 awards movie that people will still be talking about in 20 years’ time. Just don’t take your mum to the screening.
Pop or Poop?
It’s not often that a film completely justifies a three hour runtime, but The Wolf of Wall Street’s breakneck pace and tale of excess more than fits the bill.
The jokes land hard and the drama gets its darkness exactly right. DiCaprio is in the form of his life, surrounded by a great supporting cast of Hollywood talent.
It might not waltz out of the Oscars with an armful of awards, but The Wolf of Wall Street isn’t really an awards beast. It is a decadent portrait of a decadent dream.
And that main character is a right banker.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.