The Wolf ***1/2
One Liner Review:
A pretty terrific movie, the humor is off the charts and incredibly bold, the story is great, and the only downfall is that the movie is just a little too long.
The Wolf Of Wallstreet is like american psycho meets boiler room. It’s got that same level of energy and humor pumping through it’s veins, making it intense and hilarious the whole way through. the story is about the rise and fall of a stock broker who found a way to cheat the system as well as his clients and make a fortune doing it. This is a movie about living the good life, being on top of the world, and having no reservations or inhibitions about anything. There is a lot of drug use here, and that often makes for some very funny moments. The movie was directed by scorcese and this is like his stock broker take on Goodfellas, from the constant voice over to the FBI guys trying to get him and make him rat on his friends. scorcese gets great performances out of everyone here, no matter how big or small their roles. That includes not just dicaprio and Jonah Hill, but also Matthew McConaghey, Rob Reiner, and even Sasha Baron Cohen. this movie is a modern classic, and while i could see many people being turned off by how extreme the ideas are, it is for that exact reason that the whole thing is so much fun.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a terrific film. It’s over the top and fun in the best of ways, holding your attention at all times. The movie is about a Wall Street stockbroker, and how he achieves massive success; only it never gets too heavily invested in the business side of things and how it all works. Instead, the movie is much more interested in the lifestyle and the ways that power corrupts and make a person who’s got it all want even more. Michael Douglas once said. “Greed is good,” in the movie, Wall Street, and this Leonardo Dicaprio film certainly takes on that mentality. There is a lot of voice over here and nearly all of it is humorous and out there. Having a funny and crazy character take us through the movie and explain his rise and fall makes for a very enjoyable situation.
The movie starts with a scene of Jordon Belfort (Leonardo Dicaprio) and one of his top guys, Donnie (Jonah Hill), discussing the idea of midget darts. These guys are in their office organizing a game where people throw midgets at dartboards and see where they will land. Alongside a bunch of their other friends, they sit around a table discussing the way you have to treat the midgets and all of these sensitivity issues. The whole thing is hilarious considering what they are doing with the midgets and how degrading it is. Throw them all you want, just don’t look them in the eye or say the wrong thing.
After this opening sequence, we get some flashbacks to Jordon just starting out. He’s the new kid on the block, working for two bosses who couldn’t treat him any more differently. One guy is a total jerk, yelling at Belfort and belittling him every chance he can get. The other guy is marking Hanna (Matthew McConaghey), taking Jordan out for lunch and trying to inspire him. This is a very small role, with Mcconaghey only in the start of the film, but it’s a pretty memorable one. I aquait it to ale Baldwin’s role in Glengarry Glen Ross, which is to say that it’s a small scene and only at the start of the film, yet it’s so powerful, that when the movie’s over, it’s one of the things you remember most.
This scene that is so catchy from the early moments of the film has Belfort and mark Hanna sitting at a table during their lunch, discussing the nature of the business and then breaking into song. Hanna starts the song off with chest beating and then noises and by the end of it has convinced Belfort to continue the chest pounding, carrying out a beat for Hanna to make bird noises with. This is Belfort’s mentor. Among other things, he introduces Belfort to the availability and purpose of using drugs in this business. He even talks to Belfort about how many times they each masturbate. This is the kind of tone and humor the movie is just getting started with.
Soon, Belfort is caught in the middle of the terrible stock market crash from about five years back that hit everyone hard and put tons of stockbrokers out of jobs. Jordan is one of these. He is forced to start all over, from the ground floor up, and walks into a penny stock traders office where he takes a phone call with a client and convinces the man to buy a ton of shares of some worthless stock. This is a fantastic scene, as the different people who are working beside Belfort all end up standing from their desks, walking over to him, and listening to the conversation, watching this man’s amazing skill.
It isn’t long before Belfort is ready to start his own company. He meets a guy named Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) in a restaurant and watches how much Donnie idolizes him just because of the kind of car he drives. Donnie offers to come work for Belfort and the two of them bring in a bunch of other friends to start a business out of a garage. Belfort teaches them all how to make calls and what to say and soon their business has taken off.
This movie is extreme in many different ways. One statistic that people have noted is that it has more curses in it than any other film. I’m not entirely sure if that’s true, but aside from the cursing, there is a ton of drugs and a ton of nudity. This movie really does go all out. Belfort and his friends don’t hold back on anything, and that includes buying a tremendous triple-decker yacht. Jordon has affairs and sexual encounters with women everywhere he goes and ends up getting divorced from his wife and remarrying someone younger and more attractive. There is a really hot scene where this new wife teases Jordan about not letting him touch her anymore, while pulling a take on the basic instinct leg crossing position.
Belfort brings in his father, Max, to help manage the finances of the company, and this man (played by Rob Reiner) is fantastic in the comedic role. He can’t understand how these young guys can go out and spend so much money and have nothing to show for it afterwards. When they spend thousands of dollars on a dinner, Max is in such shock that he quizzes them on the different things they had.
Aside from that character, who adds to the comedic tone of the film, there’s also Kyle Chandler, playing the FBI agent who is targeting Belfort, and that adds to the storyline. They have a great scene together on Belfort’s yacht, where the two of them are both playing each other. And then there are all of the scenes of using crazy amounts of drugs. There’s one in particular that is more memorable then the others, because it looks at the drug use from a one night situation, the same way that Goodfellas did a one day in the life sequence, with the helicopter flying around following Henry Hill all day. Here, Belfort and Donnie have just done a ton of old Quaaludes and keep taking more because the Quaaludes don’t seem to be kicking in. then it suddenly hits them and we follow the different situations they get involved in afterwards. Like Ray Liotta’s voice over in goodfellas, here it’s dicaprio’s detailing for us everything he needed to do that night and why, such as going to a country club to find a payphone to call his lawyer, or making a conscious decision to roll down a bunch of brick stairs.
The Wolf Of Wall Street is a great achievement for director martin scorcese. Like Woody Allen, this is an older guy who is still making terrific films that are very much in touch with a younger audience. This is not the kind of movie you would expect an older filmmaker to turn out. It is loud and intense and very outrageous. It almost seems like the movie crank, put into a good screenplay with credible actors and an artistic director. The movie reminds me a lot of another film that is out right now, American hustles, also about main characters who scam people for a living. The Wolf Of Wall Street is the better film, because it is the one that refuses to hold back. The movie is a little too long, clocking in at about three hours, when two and a half would have done just fine, but other than that, it’s a great film.