Could have been much better with much less bad language, not just the occasional word but it's like being beaten over the head with the swearing stock and after a while it REALLY grates. It's a decent story but nothing that couldn't be improved by reducing the film length by an hour or so. Scorsese has a good reputation and having seen some of his films (especially this one and Gangs of New York) they follow a similar pattern - much too long and much too sweary, if he were that good a director they could be so much better. It doesn't help that the lead character is pretty loathsome, but then I guess that's the whole point. A crooked stockbroker with a drug and sex habit and far too much money and a character straight out of the sewer. The casting of Jonah Hill as Belforts sidekick is either genius or, more likely, idiotic. He's just not a good actor.
on 18 January 2014
WOLF OF WALL STREET REVIEW
If you dislike films glamorising hedonism and debauchery, look away. Based on a memoir by former stockbroker Jordan Belfort - what makes this already ridiculous story even more so is the fact it actually happened.
Jordan Belfort (played fantastically by Leonardo DiCaprio) went from a nobody to a multi-millionaire by selling fraudulently inflated stocks in his self made brokerage firm Stratton-Oakmont. He used the money to fund his excessive lifestyle filled with prostitutes, drugs, fast cars, huge mansions, and general excess. This film is the story of how he made his fortunes through illegal activities, and how the law came to catch up with him.
Let me just say that this film is absolutely, undeniably fantastic. It is crazily energised, entertainingly immoral, full of fantastically bad taste and definitely one of the best films I have seen in a long, long time.
There has been a lot of talk about the morality of this film. Despite the protagonist's hedonistic lifestyle, overflowing with illegal activities, prostitutes and drugs (all the while having a wife and 2 kids at home), Belfort is definitely portrayed in an undeniable sympathetic and positive light. We see not only Belfort's ambition, intelligence & undeniable talents, but also his humanity, the fact he uses his power and unlimited money not just to fund his debaucherous life, but to help other people, to give them opportunities to change their life that no one else has. There is no moral comeuppance in this film, no real sense that Belfort ever really learns any lessons, or wishes to change his ways. In a way it's refreshingly morality free, and whether it is irresponsible to paint a criminal in this way is questionable. However, the Telegraph review on this film sums it up perfectly - 'Scorsese is treating the audience like adults, trusting that our moral sense will compensate for his character's lack of one'.
Touching on the acting a bit more, for me, this may be Leonardo DiCaprio's greatest role (which, considering his past CV, is saying a lot). The range of emotions demonstrated here, from a young man's first experience on Wall Street, to a motivational speaker in front of hundreds of employees, from acting high and almost-paralytic from the effects of too many Quaaludes, to screaming and shouting at his trophy wife Naomi (played by the positively stunning Margot Robbie), having a tantrum uncanny in resemblance to that of a toddler's, DiCaprio proves time and time again just why he's one of the biggest names in acting. Someone please give this guy an Oscar ASAP. Also, it was a nice touch to have the real Jordan Belfort make a cameo at the end of the film (he's the guy who introduces DiCaprio's Belfort for his motivational speaking seminar).
At 180 minutes this film is long, and towards the end when the energy, enthusiasm, fun and games is replaced with indictments, lawyers, court and prison you do start to feel the length and your attention wandering, but that is my only real criticism. Apart from that, this film near on perfect.
So, incase my review hasn't made it clear already, this is a fantastic film that is a must watch. Looking forward to reading the biography it was based upon now.
on 7 April 2014
The Wolf of Wall Street benefits from excellent acting, a cracking script, top notch technical contributions and a refreshing absence of moralising. It simply tells a crazy, drugs-sex-and-money yarn from the totally amoral lead character's viewpoint. You might wonder about the effect of Jordan Belfort's swindling and whoring on various innocent people. Obviously loads of people lost loads of money, but if the US justice system was prepared to hand out such ludicrously light sentences for such monstrous frauds, it is hard to blame Martin Scorsese for not adopting a high moral tone.
The effect of Belfort's promiscuity on his first loving and devoted wife is shown briefly and touchingly. As for the impact on gorgeous blond trophy wife No.2; well, you can't help feeling that she knew what she was getting into.
The main shortcoming of the film is its excessive length. There are any number of scenes where I thought that Scorsese and his very experienced editor could simply have used the scissors without losing any essential plot and made it at least 30 minutes shorter.
on 29 January 2016
In short (which is ironic, as it's certainly not that), this is a good film and a fun roller coaster ride - but it's a full hour too long. If that extra hour was removed, and all the funny bits were left in, you'd have a comedy rival to Planes, Trains and Automobiles or Arsenic and Old Lace. As it is, it's another great film for Di Caprio to have on his CV, as he commands your attention throughout.
on 12 December 2015
It is a shame it is a true story because a lot people lost their money, but if you can park that bit: what a great film!
I run my own business and when I feel deflated, I watch the motivational speeches to pick me up to get more customers; Di Caprio is fantastic, he has made me money (legally of course) !
The film also titillates the devil in you: probably not one to watch with the Mrs, she may think it will give you ideas!
on 8 March 2014
Wolf on Wall Street was all set to be Scorsese's latest masterpiece. From what you could garner from the promotional material. It had a star cast. A strong story. And was all set to be in for a good chance of winning an Oscar. A film with a superlative length heightens the expectations of the audience. 3 hours. Ok...
So, I watched it. There was a lot I liked about it. The conventional narrative of a self-made man who loses it all. Rags to riches to rags again. It is no wonder Jordan Belfour's story was picked by Scorsese. But to me, it didn't feel particularly new. We've seen corporate psychopathy in film form, we have seen films about bankers, and drugs. Even the excellent performances from Leonardo di Caprio and Jonah Hill couldn't revive a film formula which to all intents and purposes can scarcely fill two hours.
My biggest complaint with the film is: We didn't see huge amounts of Jordan Belfour being that ruthless in a work setting. I would have liked more of that. When he gave the long speech after about 2 hours when you think he is considering giving up, I actually wish the film had stopped there.
So all in all, I enjoyed it less than I thought I would, but overall enough to feel significantly satisfied that the film had at least set out to do at least some of what it had achieved.