Film review: The Wolf of Wall Street

Posted by: on Jan 26, 2014 | No Comments

Money, sex, drugs and debauchery – cinema’s latest offering, The Wolf of Wall Street, is not for the faint-hearted. Based on the true story of American stockbroker-turned-billionaire, Jordan Belfort, director Martin Scorsese offers this laugh out loud comedy in the form of a gritty, crime thriller, following the rise and fall of a man impatient for power. With outstanding performances from Leonardo Dicaprio and supporting actor, Jonah Hill, it comes as no surprise that it has already been tipped to be one of the highest grossing pictures of 2014.

Set in the 1980’s, Belfort (Dicaprio) is first introduced to a life of excess when he meets a drug riddled Wall Street partner, played by Matthew McConaughey. When the stock market crashes, however, he begins selling penny stocks to the poor and vulnerable, finding a quick and easy way to make cash. Before long, he owns a luxurious estate, a host of expensive cars and a 41 meter long yacht. Founding brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont with partner and fellow con-man, Donnie Azzof (Hill), the company soon booms as naked women and cocaine form part of the office furniture.

Dicaprio takes center stage as a crazed Jordan Belfort

Belfort then meets his second wife, played by Neighbours actress Margot Robbie, and the pair submerge themselves in wealth.  Far from the fairy tale most girls dream of, they have a turbulent and violent relationship, and as the FBI close in on Jordan, his marriage is left in ruin.

It’s superficial, strangely hypnotic and immensely funny all at the same time, and as he rides his last high before crashing down to reality you can’t help but feel a little empathetic for the character.Through a rapid mixture of up-close shots and freeze frames, Scorcese captures Belfort at the very height of his financial scams, a whirlwind journey of criminal activity that often leaves you wondering what the hell is going on. Dicaprio is equally brilliant, performing with a manic intensity that  keeps your eyes focused on the screen. At three hours long though, some scenes seem a little over the top. But when you have someone so handsome to look at, it really doesn’t matter.