Monday, February 3, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street Review (2014)

Jordan Belfort was a con man who manipulated the stock market using 'rat holes.' These rat holes were people who held stock for Belfort, where it would otherwise be illegal for him to hold in his name. Burt if you're taking the name of the film as a literal interpretation - you'll be quite disappointed. The Wolf of Wall Street couldn't be further from an Oliver Stone film.

Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio with such velocity was just a simple minded 20 something when headed to Wall Street with his ambitions. Much like a big portion of society he desired the same as much of us and what do we all desire? Money. I want money - I can admit it - who doesn't want wealth? It's a simplistic with really and at such a young age and it can be seemingly reachable say to; re-creating dinosaurs.

Such desire for wealth can soon corrupt ones vision on reality as we have seen in history many times before. Although Belfort takes enough drugs to knock still a small country the biggest drug of all was always going to be those green notes with bold numbers. One-Zero-Zero and plenty please.

Director Martin Scorsese is well known for being able to tackle characters like Belfore - morally depraved, power hungry - and he tackles them with a unprecedented none bias approach, have a look at Henry Hill in Goodfellas.

The story of Jordan Belfort is a hard one to tackle. The Book (written by the real Belfore) of the same name with which is the basis for the movie is a mess of stoke terminology, drugs, sex, exposes that seem entirely unlikely oh and more drugs. Belfort's books aren't written all that well and his stock market trickery wasn't all that interesting. His ridiculous life and drug and sex addiction is however so ridiculous it makes for quite a darkly comedic tale.

We are dealing with a man who after serving his sentence in prison had to and still is paying restitution to his 1,513 client he defrauded. That is a lot of people, with whom Belfort stole million upon millions.

The Wolf of Wall Street fails to deal with victims entirely, you never hear a single word about them. While this would be in any other case a major negative for a film like this. However in the first several minutes of The Wolf of Wall Street it is revealed as a first person narrative. Belfort is racing along the highway swerving between line when the narrator - Belfort - kicks in remarking that no his car wasn't that colour but a white more like the one from Miami Vice. The cars colour then changes mid shot like it was in a computer program and thus Scorsese is able to show in a very smart way that this is Belfort's tale.

Telling the nearly three hour long tale of Belfort this way is perfect. Of course Belfort would tell his story this way, in fact go look online at a real interview, he comes of the kinda of guy to exaggerate his story just enough that it becomes more interesting and of course the focus is entirely on him.

DiCaprio and Jonah Hill lead - Belfort and Donnie Azoff respectfully - with as I said a real velocity. For three hours long The Wolf of Wall Street hits hard and fast, it would simply be impossible if it wasn't for these great performances. Even small roles become memorable thanks to actors like Mathew McConaughey as Mark Hanna, Jon Bernthal as Brad and even Spike Jonze as Dwayne. The same cannot be said for the female characters even with Margot Robbies strong performance as Belfort's second wife Namoi 'The Duchess' Lapaglia.

Females in Jordan Belfort's world are used much there daily intake of drugs. They are simply an item for use and sexual activities or just a nice shinny thing to have on ones arm. The Wolf of Wall Street could be called a misogynist film but it comes down to this being Belfort's tale once again and being told solely in his image and the way he pictures and see's everything, he is leading the camera. If Belfort's representation of Women is a sex toys and beautiful display items then that how the audience will perceive the film.

While the majority of the comedic elements come from Belfort on drugs or the truly ridiculous thing that he participated in or went down in his firm. Once scene stands out as a high moment of separation between glorifying the lifestyle and choices Belfort made and not so. A scene early in the film a Women is paid a high some of money to get her head shaved in front of all the Strattonites (as Belfort refers to his employees) and the money will be used for breast implants, making it all okay. The event is simply a part of the regular sick charades that happen simply for a laugh in Belfort's firm. This scene is important because it is the first time we see one of Belfot's grand speeches and attempts to try and appease, impress and make sure everyone has a great time. The thing is though, that unless tour as messed up as those guys, while they are all clapping and laughing the event on we as the audience who he is seemingly trying to impress also, we are all sitting back feeling rightfully uncomfortable.

Be ready to feel fully uncomfortable if you choose to watch The Wolf of Wall Street with your family. The R18+ rating is truly deserved and even with that I can seem the amount of drugs, sex and course language simply being to indulgent for some people. I wasn't surprised to read online of people simply getting up a leaving the cinema.

The Wolf of Wall Street is an oddly brilliant dark comedy. DiCaprio has already won awards for his comedic performance and they are all well deserved. Jonah Hill hasn't received nearly enough recognition for his big teethed performance though, as he goes to show once again he is not a one trick pony comedy actor but one of the greatest young actors in Hollywood at the moment. But all involved should be very proud, this is truly a tour-de-force of talent and will undoubtedly go down as one of Martin Scorsese's greatest films. Wait did I just say a Scorsese film nominated for 'Best Comedy' at the Golden Globes will go down as one of his best?

+ Tour-De-Force of Performances
+ One of Scorsese's Best
+ Ridiculously Brilliant Dark Comedy
+ DiCaprio on Lemons

Overall: 10/10