genres – Drama
writers – Terence Winter
rating – 9,1 / 10 Star
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There are few films that would have been as widely anticipated this year as The Wolf of Wall Street, it’s a strong cast of performers that you can see went all out in this picture to create the sheer chaos inspired by the real life memoirs of Dicaprio’s character Jordan Belfort. Many critics have cited this 3 hour tale of the debauched stockbroker as glamorising his life of excess. I couldn’t agree less. This is a film that in my opinion does not feature a protagonist, I doubt many viewers can relate to Belfort and I think that is where The Wolf of Wall Street really excels. We are not supposed to condone his actions, there is no attempt at redemption on his behalf and although Belfort may possess the odd admirable quality I don’t believe we are expected to sympathise with him.
From what we are expected to believe as humble beginnings we see Belfort advance from the innocent or perhaps naive young accomplice of Mark Hanna to the human embodiment of greed and corruption with very little time to adjust. Although only a cameo appearance from Matthew McConaughey his performance as Mark Hanna, brings some cocaine induced energy especially in one of the stand out scenes known as ‘lunch humming. The addition of characters like Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) Belforts number two and the rest of Stratton Oakmont deliver this film the necessary comedic exchanges along the way in which would otherwise be a very dark film with very little to lighten the mood of the viewer. The consistent drug abuse and sex is relentless which gives this film a real edge and the slick cinematography gives some depth to what we witness on screen.
The film’s most engaging performances are provided by Dicaprio and Jonah Hill who share many scenes of Quaalude fuelled comedy most notably the overdose golf club scene close to the end of the film and the various slow motion ‘highs’ throughout. However it’s Dicaprio’s moments expressing the frustration of a man who is never content and the anger/desperation portrayed particularly in a scene near the end where the character Naomi announces her want to divorce him. It’s a concoction of cocaine charged domestic abuse and panic on Belforts part, and it surprised me when this gained a laugh from a few audience members. I think that proved that maybe one of this film’s small downfalls is that sometimes it’s too easy to get caught in the far-fetched excess and therefore lose some sensitivity.
Maybe this won’t be regarded as Scorsese’ finest work but it will more than likely go down as his most controversial, it would be unfair to try and compare this with previous efforts such as ‘Goodfellas’ because it’s not attempting to be as diverse and challenging. The Wolf of Wall Street is a film with unlovable characters and I don’t see that as a flaw, why should we always have to empathise with the characters we see on screen this film does nothing to glamorise the lives of those involved we merely view their narcissistic escapades and are left with an understanding of the cliché that money is the route of all evil, but ultimately we are entertained and I can’t see anything wrong with that.
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