Last week I discussed the Leonardo Di Caprio conundrum and whether this year would finally be his year to get that Oscar. Many think it is his role in the Wolf of Wall Street that is going to make it happen. So I think a review is in order so you can make up your own minds if this film is all its cracked up to be!
Martin Scorsese’s latest offering is a film that embodies the term go big or go home. Everything about the hugely expensive and lengthy The Wolf of Wall Street is excessive, from the production to the film’s main themes of excess money, sex and hedonism. Based on a memoir of the same name, The Wolf of Wall Street tells the story of Jordan Belfort. Played by Leonardo Di Caprio Belfort after a rocky start to his stock trading career in Wall Street founds the investment firm Stratton Oakmont in a Long Island garage selling junk stocks and goes on to swindle his way to an enormous personal fortune.
This personal fortune funds a lifestyle based on pure excess and hedonism. With typical scenes of Belfort’s daily life depicting prostitutes who only take credit cards, drunk driving home in helicopters and an endless supply of drugs. A typical week in the Stratton offices involves dwarf tossing and naked marching bands. The party eventually comes to an end when Belfort is indicted by the FBI for securities fraud and money-laundering. However despite this, unlike many other films dealing with crime, there is ultimately little justice or redemption in the end of this film. Belfort remains driven by acquisition from beginning to end.
The corruption and ugliness of American greed in the 90s that paved the way for the 2008 financial crisis is embodied by Belfort, who describes making money as being like “mainlining adrenaline.” A critical factor in the brilliance of the storytelling of the Wolf of Wall Street is Di Caprio’s Oscar nominated performance which is arguably one of the actor’s best yet. He delivers a perfect depiction of a flawed yet fascinating character in addition to creating some golden comedic moments.
Although the film doesn’t feel like an outright comedy, there are some excellent dark comedy scenes to enjoy. The best of these come from Belfort’s use of drugs, especially a scene where Belfort and his second in command Donnie take some out of date Quaaludes. This sees Belfort in what he terms his “cerebral palsy” phase forced to crawl inch by inch out of a country club and to his sports car. Although Di Caprio’s performance dominates from start to finish, there are some notable performances from other actors even with limited screen time. Jonah Hill who plays Belfort’s second in command Donnie really makes his mark in this film. All in all the Wolf of Wall Street although excessive in every sense is brilliantly edited, superbly acted and well worth a trip to the cinema this month.
You can watch the trailer for the Wolf of Wall Street here
Have you checked out the Wolf of Wall Street yet and if so do you think it’s worthy of an Oscar? Let us know in the comments!