Film Review: 'The Wolf of Wall Street' is an obnoxious and voyeuristic film, but is also brilliantly entertaining

Friday, 3 January 2014 - 5:26pm IST Updated: Saturday, 4 January 2014 - 12:05am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA Web Team
The movie, three hours long may at some points make you wonder what's the point of it all? Is Belfort's life something we want, or something we despise? But in the end, I think that's what Scorsese masterfully wants you to ponder.

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hil, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Cristin Milioti, Jean Dujardin

Director: Martin Scorsese

Rating: ****

The Wolf of Wall Street is the fifth collaboration between Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese, and like all the others before it’s a match made in heaven. The film is not for the faint of heart and revolves around the life story of Jordan Belfort, the real wolf of Wall Street and his spiral downward into the world of drugs, greed and sex.

From the get go, the film doesn’t conceal its motives showing us a quick and unapologetic insight into the life of Belfort (played by DiCaprio) journeying through all his vices. Scorsese as always shines through as he shows us exactly what he wants us to see, a raw and no holds barred look on greed and corruption that can take you down a road you may not want to come back from.

Goodfellas, The Departed and Mean Streets; some of Scorsese’s other films showed us the gangsters and the mobsters, but in WOWS, he shows us who has the real power, the white collar criminals – the stock brokers. 

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a young doe-eyed boy who comes to Wall Street to become a millionaire. The film chronicles his rise and fall, as enticement and avarice of the lifestyles of the rich and famous prove to overcome the good natured young man we met at the beginning of the film. The reason the character is so engaging (apart from DiCaprio’s stellar performance) is the fact that it could happen to anyone.

There are no heroes and villains in the movie, there is just Jordan Belfort, and as much as you’d want to hate him, as much as you’d want to despise him, you just can’t. His charming demeanour, his exhilarating speeches and his ‘will-not-quit’ attitude almost takes focus away from the wretched human being he actually is.

Apart from DiCaprio, there are some knock-out performances by the rest of the cast. Although Belfort is the centre of the film, the people he meets along the way influence him to no end. Jonah Hill delivers a hilarious and brilliant performance as Donnie Azoff, Belfort’s pill popping partner in crime.

Matthew McConaughey in his brief appearance in the film as Belfort’s first boss Mark Hanna manages to use the few minutes on screen to his advantage, giving Belfort his first taste into the seductive life at Wall Street. Kyle Chandler as the by-the-book FBI agent Patrick Denham and Margot Robbie as Naomi Lapaglia, Belfort’s second wife, are great additions to the action of the film, both actors having fantastic on-screen chemistry with DiCaprio.

Scorsese’s direction is of course one of the best parts of the film. He doesn’t get stuck with normal conventions and isn’t afraid at all to go outside the box to tell his stories. Belfort often breaks the forth wall to explain what is happening, coupled with some flashbacks in the beginning. Unlike Wall Street, the film doesn’t focus on the technical jargon of analysts, instead Belfort tells the audience, you’re not going to understand any of this anyway and focuses on what is really important – Greed might not necessarily be good, but no one can deny, it’s a hell of a lot fun. 

The movie, three hours long may at some points make you wonder what’s the point of it all? Is Belfort’s life something we want, or something we despise? But in the end, I think that’s what Scorsese masterfully wants you to ponder. 

Bottom line, The Wolf of Wall Street is an obnoxious and voyeuristic film, but it is definitely brilliantly entertaining and one of the best films to come out in a long while.


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