I have previously joked about how I’d watch the trailer to Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street in the morning because visually it was like doing a line of cocaine. Little did I know that the feature length film would be the best example of truth in advertising since Pacific Rim. The Wolf Of Wall Street is literally a three hour high, filled with every form of despicable DEBAUCHERY, decadence and self-destructive devilishness you could possibly think of. This film was easily one of the most anticipated films of the year on our site, and I can confidently say that it lived up to every expectation. Is it a perfect film? Not necessarily. But it is unquestionably a must see film. Hell, I could end the review right there. For the skeptics still unconvinced, allow me to talk about some of the aspects of The Wolf Of Wall Street that surely make it great.
The story? Based on the autobiographical novel, The Wolf Of Wall Street tells the tumultuous life story of stock broker slimeball Jordan Belfort. This film and Michael Bay’s film Pain & Gain tell two stories that will shock you with their hilariously absurd events. Then shock you even further when you discover that so many of those events were absolutely true. It is closer to being a modern day remake of Caligula than a story about the stock market. I give the real Jordan Belfort credit for still allowing the darker parts of his life to remain in the film and not be played up for laughs. Although, you never really hate the guy even after you see them.
The structure? The film has been shorthanded into the familiar Scorsese format, leading people to quickly describe it as the Goodfellas version of Wall Street. And…well…it is. Writer Terence Winter practically admitted as much. For as herky jerky of a style it is, this format always seems to work for Scorsese and be entertaining enough for the audience to forgive it. Much in the way audiences did for The Departed. I bring up the structure because it may be the only criticism I can find in this film. When it is all said and done, The Wolf Of Wall Street may only be remembered as just a collection of jaw droppingly great scenes instead of a well crafted story. The Lemmon Quaalude scene, the goldfish scene, the midget parameters scene, the yacht chop scene, and every scene where Leo delivers a stump speech to his troops. After seeing the film, however, I can’t imagine the story being told any other way. The structure sets the fast pace and humorous tone this film needed.
The performances? Are you kidding? Even if you are one of those inexplicably strange Leo detractors, you’ll still be in love with the job he does as the wolf Jordan Belfort. The enthusiastic vulnerability DiCaprio consistently displays in his roles continues to make me appreciate him as an actor. His co-star Jonah Hill steals literally EVERY scene he’s in, which is a tough task for a film like this. His performance is something deserving of an award, but will probably fall short of acclaim like his stellar one in Moneyball. Virtual newcomer Margot Robbie holds her own with both of them. She is the Lorraine Bracco of this film and is no less brilliant. Honestly, every actor in this film knocks it out of the park, no matter the amount of screentime they get. Matthew McConaughey is amazing again. Jean Dujardin, who I didn’t even know was in this film, is terrific. Kyle Chandler shines in the first role I’ve seen him have fun in. Jon Bernthal is thankfully a long ways away from his Shane days. Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, Joanne Lumley, P.J. Byrne and countless others hit every note they need to perfectly.
The Wolf Of Wall Street is a fiery car accident you can’t look away from. No, it’s a seedy fling with your ex girlfriend after you both came to the agreement that you’re bad for one another. No, it’s an insane night on the town with your more irresponsible high school buddies that ends in the police drunk tank. Who am I kidding? It’s a cinematic drug high. The rush of the hit and the crushing darkness of the side effects. And with all these metaphors aside, it is a truly excellent film that is well worth your time. Sell me this pen…go downstairs and get the ‘ludes…remember your safe word…watch it…exhale and wipe your brow afterwards…then tell me I’m wrong.