Version I saw: UK cinema release
Photography/visual style: 7/10
I am very conflicted about The Wolf of Wall Street. You see, accidentally or deliberately, it pulls the strange trick of making me enjoy it while simultaneously making me feel bad for enjoying it.
Like many Scorsese films (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Aviator), The Wolf of Wall Street is a deftly drawn portrait of an exceptional character, who faces pressures and trials very different to those of everyday people, and reacts in ways no ordinary person would. Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is uniquely driven, but he is also self-centred, greedy, shallow and essentially immoral. As played by DiCaprio, he also has enormous reserves of charisma.
The film follows the essential plot of Goodfellas, charting Belfort's rise and fall. He does abhorrent things to gain success, enjoys that success, and eventually has his comeuppance. Part of me hated him and delighted in his downfall, but another part was drawn in by his personal magnetism, and I found that my gut reaction was to smile when he did well, and be unhappy when he did badly. I was slightly angry with myself for siding with this monster against his victims, and slightly angry with Scorsese and DiCaprio for making me feel this way, no matter how subtly and impressively it was that they did so. I left the cinema feeling a little bit soiled.
For my full review, see my independent film blog on Blogspot, Cinema Inferno: http://cinemainferno-blog.blogspot.co.uk