This is not the first time someone has attempted to tell the story of a man’s rise and fall. Only this time it concentrates more on the journey and the crazy, exuberant, drug-induced, two-bit Wall Street investor Jordan Belfort and his posse. It’s less about the clichés concerning the evolving psychology of the character and his predictable fall from grace.
Martin Scorsese’s most popular works are known to be far more gritty, so at first glance The Wolf of Wall Street doesn’t seem to resemble a typical film directed by the very man that attracted a great following on the back of directing highly acclaimed films such as Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995). These films garnered a large audience and set the bar for gangster film epics. The Wolf does not concern itself with the traditional sense of the word “mafia”, whereby heavily armed men “eliminate” one another all for the sake of money. The film rather displays people working as members of the “corporate mafia”, who instead of guns, use telephones and cunning psychological methods as weapons with which the brokers then use inciting prospective dreams into luring people to buy their product.
But what really stands out in this movie is the sheer magnitude of hedonism. The Wolf will take you through every possible act of debauchery conceivable to man; orgies, drugs, power, and all the things that money can buy. The comedy involving these scenes of immoral self-indulgence highlight the best moments of the film. It will keep you not only interested and well entertained, but more so it will keep you laughing all throughout the long movie.
The director and others involved in making this project should receive praise for keeping the audience wide awake and on the lookout for more fun, as they’ve done a pretty decent job of stretching a typically 90 minute story to a three-hour film, while at the same time being able to preserve the audience’s interest.
Being a dark comedy, the film doesn’t really delve into the background psychology of the characters, as it doesn’t raise underlying questions as to why Belfort and others around him deployed many of the illegal and unethical methods that they did. Other than one scene taking note on this, where Belfort tells us, “Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be rich”, it doesn’t question or go beyond to explain the roots of his inner motives. And perhaps that is enough for a film like this, for all you need to know about this film is that I will make you laugh.
The film’s darkly comical tone can be compared to American Psycho (2000), where many of the scenes depicted are highly unorthodox and even criminal, but nevertheless gives a great “kick” to the audience for its overbearing comedy. Multiple scenes will make you reminisce on your daily life which will propel you to identify the same comical situations and therefore propel you to ironically laugh at yourself.
The Wolf does not belong to the canon of films that will reward its lead actor with an Academy Award nomination. Therefore, once again, DiCaprio will be deprived of cementing his place in movie history. Nevertheless, he thrives in his portrayal of the real-life eccentric, narcissistic and compulsive talking character of Jordan Belfort. He keeps the audience greatly entertained, whether he is giving one of many legendary orations to his broker minions, partaking in an orgy on a jumbo jet, or just casually sniffing a certain substance off a prostitute, he revels in evoking a great sense of entertainment and excitement to the viewer.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill were once again reunited to star in the same film, as they first worked alongside one another in Quentin Tarantino’s Django. Hill, who stars as Belfort’s (DiCaprio) second in command, should be praised for his noteworthy portrayal of Donnie Azoff, who is in fact based on a real life character known as Danny Porush. Donnie, who is just as crazy as Belfort, if not crazier, complements the character of Belfort greatly, as when both of them are seen together in a scene, explosions of laughter can be heard throughout the audience.
The film places higher importance on the wild, party lifestyle that Belfort and the others lavished in, and less on finance and the stock business. So, in effect, viewers that deal with or are interested in business affairs, and whose hunger for money was christened by the moment they watched Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (1987), will be left mildly unsatisfied, if they expected to watch a serious film about finance. Simultaneously, this is what makes this film so great, for it contains raw and demonic humor, which will make you want to watch it again, right after you have seen it.