The Wolf of Wall Street
Manic, crazed, obsessive, extreme, indulgent – these words describe not just Jordan Belfort’s life as depicted in the film, but the entire film itself.
It’s as if Scorsese, DiCaprio and just about everyone else were on some sort of drug through out the making of this film and virtually every scene contains some kind of out of control element. And at almost three hours long the experience is exhausting.
But this doesn’t mean that I didn’t like the film. I loved it for all the reasons above. This is Scorsese multiplied by ten and DiCaprio has never been more fascinating than he is in ‘Wolf’. All caution was thrown to the wind and the Director and his star seemed determined to push the envelop at every opportunity in terms of taste, explicitness and vulgarity.
Covering similar ground as ‘Casino’, ‘Wolf’ shows the rise and fall of a one of a kind man who knows how to make money and dodge the law. Things are rosy and sweet but like any such fable there is a price to pay.
Like a mini Roman Empire, Belfort’s financial power knows only how to continually nourish itself with ever more wealth. But all good things must come to an end, or so I’m told.
Perhaps the main downside to the film is that, ultimately, none of the characters are ever really likeable. Belfort is charismatic for sure and we almost cheer his successes despite his greed and bravery to do what he wants, but punching his wife in the stomach and ratting out his friends show him for what he really is, a nasty piece of work. No tears are shed for his eventual downfall and the film might therefore be seen as a warning to avoid such an indulgent lifestyle. But I don’t think that was the filmmakers intention.
Cinema works best when it shows us a world we new little about, and ‘Wolf’ brilliantly shows us the world of the stock broker. I for one though, having had a glimpse of it, know for sure that it is a world I am glad not to be a part of. But I’m still rather keen on casinos…
***1/2 out of *****