Based on his memoirs, The Wolf of Wall Street is the story of the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort: stockbroker extraordinaire. Financed independently, this 100 million dollar production was directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Leonardo DiCaprio. With a 3 hour run-time, the film’s main theme is excess. Like an Aronofsky film, The Wolf of Wall Street deals with self-destruction, with the perpetrator being money.
Before I start, I should say, I may be a little biased towards this movie. I’ve read the memoir of the same name, and knew what to expect. And when I say I knew what to expect, I knew that the film was going to be less about financial corruption and more about sex and drugs. It’s shocking how the movie skirted past an NC-17 rating. If you’re unable to understand that The Wolf of Wall Street isn’t condoning the actions depicted, I’d highly recommend you stay away from it.
The Wolf of Wall Street has some absolutely brilliant performances. Leonardo DiCaprio arguably gives the best performance of his career, and it’s going to be a shame when he’s snubbed for an Oscar. Jonah Hill is hysterical as Donnie Azoff, Jordan Belfort’s partner-in-crime. The rest of the ensemble cast is one of the best of the year. Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, and Spike Jonze all appear – and I’m just scratching the surface.
I noticed a plethora of changes from book to screen, but they all served to make the story more cinematic. The Wolf of Wall Street is 180 minutes, but it doesn’t feel it. The pacing starts fast and never slows down. It’s darkly funny, outrageous, and entertaining the entire way through. The character study on Belfort is fascinating, and I was honestly disappointed it ended as soon as it did.
I had a couple technical problems with it, though. There would be moments where the film would show a close-up of a reaction shot, of someone already in the frame. Occasionally there would be audio issues with dubbing, or absent sound effects from the surrounding locations. These complaints are incredibly minute however, and The Wolf of Wall Street is the most entertaining movie I’ve seen in theaters in quite a while. 10/10.