Posted January 13, 2014 by editor in Film Reviews

The Wolf Of Wall Street Review


Back to the sub-genre of finance drama we go (Wall Street, Boiler Room, Margin Call), but this time it is given the DiCaprio/Scorsese touch. Out the other end of the of the machine comes a three hour epic of excess; glorified montages utilising a variety of music and camera styles; drugs; money; women; very overconfident men and a very obvious morale at the centre (er, don’t be like this!).

If you love the Scorsese style of storytelling that made Goodfellas, (even more so Casino and to a lesser degree The Departed) so enthralling then you will get sucked up into TWOWS instantly.

DiCaprio lends a bit of voice over here and there to help guide the towering accomplishment that is Jordan Belfort’s life as he starts at the bottom and makes his way to the top of the financial world.

DiCaprio continues his onslaught at the box office as well as with the critics with yet another powerful performance. All too often though he is matched by Jonah Hill in what is clearly his strongest performance to date as cohort and best friend Donnie Azoff. Just watching the two come together on screen, in particular in a scene where they are both completely off their heads on pills is a hoot (Yeah ok there is a ton of that, but the sequence in particular that starts at Belfort’s home, detours to a country club and then back again is nothing short of genius). Hill gets to flex dramatic and motor-mouth skills where DiCaprio gets to flex his comedic timing – but even more so his physical comedy is nothing short of hilarious – all aided and abetted by some terrific shots and editing.

Other notably support comes and goes (Matthew McConaughey makes another deep impression once again as the man who acts as the initial mentor for Belfort. Rob Reiner pops up as Belfort’s dad, and even Joanna Lumley makes an appearance and gets to shine, The always impressive Kyle Chandler (who seems to be this generation’s William Devane) turns up later as the FBI Agent on the case of bringing Belfort down), but it is DiCaprio who is largely left to carry the film which he seems to do with as much confidence and conviction as the character he is playing.

When it comes to finding an ending it is all fairly predictable where things are going to end up, but Scorsese is in no rush to get there. In fact, when it seems it is headed that way they find new and inventive ways of prolonging the inevitable, which accounts for the three hour run time. Perhaps it gets a little flabby in the final stretch, but when you are having this much fun (did we mention a large percentage of this film is a comedy?) then you almost dare yourself to ask for that four hour cut that is out there somewhere.

The Wolf Of Wall Street goes out of its way to up the ante of ludicrous almost for the sake of being ludicrous at times. It isn’t just money, women, fast cars, private yachts, helicopters and powdered drugs: Sometimes it is throwing several of these elements together and letting them all go ballistic onscreen in some of the most severe or openly public conditions you could set up for a scene. Sometimes that means it is high on pills, driving right out into the storm because drug-fuelled logic dictates that is what the best course of action should be for the sake of making everything work.

TWOWS is a great start to the year and is a must-see. Not only is it a great drama, but is hilarious at the same time – and consistently so. And therein lays the key word that seems to apply to DiCaprio and Scorsese when they work together – Consistent.

5 Stars




Steven Hurst