Wednesday, January 22, 2014

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill,
Margot Robbie, Jean Dujardin,
Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner


Leonardo DiCaprio in no way resembles the real Jordan Belfort. He is way too 'pretty' compared to the craggy faced Belfort. So to see him jump into Belfort's persona might need a little adjustment given that the role does demand a lot from DiCaprio. But surprisingly he does a wonderful job as the crass, smooth talking, in.your.face stockbroker who made millions by conning the rich to invest in stocks of dubious companies.

The real Belfort in his interview with Piers Morgan remain steadfast in his belief that he only 'robbed' from the very rich and no one really lost all their life savings. After his incarceration he has somehow 'reformed' and now 'robs' common people by giving motivational talks about the art of selling.   Although he admits that most of his current earnings go towards paying the huge amount he still owes the investors of his now defunct company, the Stratton Oakmont.

But I'm getting way ahead, the film explores the rise of Belfort from a young idealistic stockbroker to a greedy, conniving, immoral, drugs and sex addicted capitalist.  The dialogue is sharp, witty and mostly peppered with the *F* word which I doubt was even used as rampantly as it is depicted in the early 1990s.  Raunchy scenes of the debauchery that went on in and out of their office are thrown at the audience in every other frame.

The film is also quite funny with Jonah Hill, the comedian bringing in most of the laughs. I like the repartee between him and DiCaprio, their scenes together were always spot on.  The sequence showing the 'cerebral palsy' stage of the drugs kicking in, had me laughing out so much I almost peed in my pants.

Running at almost 3 hours long, there were a few scenes which could have been edited out. But the pacing was quite fast with so much going on at the same time, it felt like you were as high as most of the characters on screen.
 
Labeled as a "satire", it was aimed to expose the over the top, excesses of the capitalist world in the early 1990s.  Yet as the film progressed, it seemed to me it glamorized this sort of behavior.  That it was alright to manipulate and con people, because after all, who doesn't want to be filthy rich, right? When you're laughing at the destruction Belfort causes to not only himself, but also those around him, you realize the movie has failed to set a justifiable tone.

Having said that, I believe "The Wolf of Wolf Street" is a well crafted movie. Martin Scorsese never disappoints and by delivering such an outlandish over the top film, he proves he is one of the best directors in the industry who dares to take risks and is fearless in his approach.

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