Friday, January 24, 2014

[Review] The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese tells the classic rise and fall story like no other director, as seen in his gangster epic Goodfellas and again in Casino; two films about the seductive world of organised crime. But this time it’s the world white-collar crime. More specifically the world of Jordan Belfort; based on his true story from his rise to a ridiculously wealthy Wall Street stockbroker to his ultimate downfall involving greed, corruption, crime and fraud amongst other things.

I knew what to expect going into to this film which didn’t hinder my enjoyment but upon refection I wish I had avoided a few reviews until after seeing the film because the surprise of all its outrageousness would have been far greater. But that aside it was awesome! Talk about drug fuelled mayhem; I’ve never seen partying, drug taking and sex depicted like this in any film I’ve seen, there’s no restraint what so ever. Scorsese shows us a world without consequence that Belfort and his colleagues created for themselves. It’s the embodiment of 80s excess and corporate greed.

The Wolf of Wall Street is so funny that it feels wrong; yet I doubt the film would have worked if it wasn’t made as a comedy as there are so many moments where all you can do is laugh. But with all the comedy, vulgarity, wild sex, pill popping and partying there’s a darkness that’s always lurking behind a cloud of cocaine ready to pounce on our protagonist. We’re reminded that nothing lasts forever but the characters we’re watching on the screen aren’t listening.

Scorsese’s direction is flawless, especially the camera work and the editing. The way he captures people’s energy is amazing, I felt like I was on drugs while watching this film and when it was all over it was like coming down from a high. Its familiar territory in regards to story and themes but it’s definitely standout amongst Scorsese’s other crime films.

Leonardo DeCaprio is a true movie star; his success recent years has been extraordinary. His performance as Jordan Belfot is staggering. It really makes me wonder how an actor can mentally get himself into a place where he can achieve such an energetic and emotional performance. Jonah Hill is an actor going from strength to strength. He’s so good in this, he has some of the best dialogue and he’s hilarious to watch. I was very impressed with Margot Robbie as Belfort’s wife Naomi, I can’t believe she use to be on ‘Neighbours’; shell go very far I have no doubt. And last but not least I have to mention Rob Reiner as Max Belfort. I don’t normally laugh out loud when I’m at the cinema but I almost lost it when I saw his opening scene; mainly because I saw a hilarious part of my father in his character. 

We in Australia had to wait almost an entire month for The Wolf of Wall Street but it was worth it. This wildly entertaining film makes three hours feel more like 90 minutes; nothing exceeds like excess. 

By Kevin Bechaz

Credit Where Credit's Due

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer(s): Terence Winter, Jordan Belfort
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Rob Reiner, Matthew McConaughey
Runtime: 180 minutes
Release Date(s): USA: December 25th, 2013 Australia: January 23rd, 2014

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