The latest film by Martin Scorsese is loosely based on the true story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a Wall Street stockholder who became a self-made millionaire, using less-than-legal tactics. Using the knowledge he learned from his mentor Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey), Belfort is able to quickly make a lot of money by selling penny stocks and taking the 50% commissions. He teams up with Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) to form his own firm Stratton Oakmont and pretty soon Belfort is raking in the millions, while also winning the affections of a trophy wife named Naomi (Margot Robbie). Throughout the years, Belfort lives a life of excess, while meanwhile his dubious methods attract the attention of FBI agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler).
The Wolf of Wall Street is Leonardo DiCaprio’s fifth collaboration with Martin Scorsese, which dates back to Gangs of New York in 2002. While The Wolf of Wall Street is technically a biopic about Jordan Belfort, it is quite obvious that the film is exaggerated to show a life of excess to the absolute extremes. There is a whole lot of gratuitous sex and copious drug use in the film, which is played off as a dark comedy. It is a different type of film for Scorsese, who is usually known for darker and more dramatic films.
For the most part I have to say that I found The Wolf of Wall Street to be an enjoyable film to watch, which was quite funny at times. Leonardo DiCaprio has the difficult task at creating a likeable character out of who is ultimately a terrible human being. Through his constant fourth-wall breaking narrations, Belfort is almost gloating about the illegal methods he uses to make his money. In addition, his character is seen constantly using drugs and sleeping around with prostitutes. It’s also quite ironic that Befort’s relationship with Naomi begins as an extramarital affair, which ends his first marriage, only for Naomi to turn into the suffering wife herself. Belfort is quite a hard character to root for at time, but DiCaprio adds just enough charm to make him work.
Like many of Martin Scorsese’s films, The Wolf of Wall Street is tipping the scales at a three hour running time, which itself is apparently edited down from a much longer length. For the type of film that The Wolf of Wall Street is, I do say that the length is a little much, especially since there are many sequences in the film that don’t have much to do with the actual story. That said, there are few moments in the film that are quite hilarious in how they are dragged out, such a sequence featuring both Belfort and Donnie having a very bad drug trip. While, I probably admit that I might have enjoyed the film better if it was short, I’m not sure if I could have done without those extended sequences.
If I had to rank Leonardo DiCaprio’s collaborations with Martin Scorsese, I would put The Wolf of Wall Street about third or fourth. It’s far from the best of the films they made together, but I still enjoyed myself watching the film.8 | LIKED IT