Imagine if Patrick Bateman and Gordon Gekko had a love child, and then that child was raised by Charlie Sheen. You would end up with Jordan Belfort, the main character from Martin Scorsese’s new film “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Based on the true story, Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Belfort, a young Wall Street stockbroker who gets caught up in illegal trading and federal corruption.
Leonardo DiCaprio has had a fantastic career, and the man is not even 40 years old. The one thing he does not have is an Oscar. When most people hear that they are shocked because he is such a big name, but it is true. We live in a world where Nicolas Cage and Eminem have Oscar trophies, and Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t. I’ll let that sink in for a second…
If DiCaprio doesn’t win the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Belfort, the little faith I have left in the Academy will be lost. He gives everything he has to the role, leaving nothing on the table or the viewer’s imagination. Whether he is giving an inspirational speech to the members of his firm or on a bad drug trip, he is a blast to watch. Belfort is an awful human being and does some despicable things, but we can’t help but like the guy. His charisma and charm are simply too much, and much like Belfort can sell anything to anyone, DiCaprio sells us the character.
Every other actor in the movie is phenomenal as well, the two standouts being Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey. Hill continues to venture outside the realm of comedy, first with “Moneyball” and now in “Wolf”. He has great chemistry as DiCaprio’s right hand man and much like DiCaprio he dedicates himself to the character (to the point of eating a live goldfish).
McConaughey, who had himself a remarkable 2013 that included a Golden Globe and probable Oscar nomination for “Dallas Buyers Club”, plays Belfort’s mentor. He has a monologue early in the film that was as funny as it was brilliant. Credit to the writer Terrence Winter for putting the words on paper but it is McConaughey that just made those words come alive. I really wish he had been in the movie more because he was honestly my favorite character.
The movie clocks in at 3 hours long, but unlike things such as The Hobbit trilogy, it earns and warrants that run time. There wasn’t a second I was not entertained for one reason or another, and at no point did I look at my phone to check the time. There may have been a few scenes that ran a little long, but I never got mad at the film or felt like it was deliberately wasting my time.
Now this film is not for everyone. Not only does it have that running time of 3 hours, but it almost earned an NC-17 rating. There is an incredible amount of sex, drugs and language; in fact the movie officially holds the record for most f-words in a non-documentary with 414 uses. Many of these obscene occurrences are crucial to the plot and are an accurate portrayal of Belfort’s life, and it is debauchery at its highest form, however the easily offended may want to avoid from the film.
It is worth mentioning that the film’s first third was perfect. I love movies about beginnings and origins, so seeing Belfort build his corrupt company from scratch was immensely entertaining. The rest of the film is very good, too, albeit for completely different reasons.
There really is nothing “The Wolf of Wall Street” gets wrong aside from its pushy running time and slight tone issues. DiCaprio gives one of the best performances of his shining career, and all the supporting cast add in some big laughs and entertaining pieces of dialogue. Scorsese does a good job capturing all the irrelevancy on camera and it is one of my favorite films by him. I really don’t want to ruin anything more about what this movie is, so much like a stockbroker you are just going to have to take me by my word on this.
Critics Rating: 9/10