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Movie Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

February 1st 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the real life story of New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort and stars Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, directed by Martin Scorsese.

From the outset, two things must be said:

1) This is a long movie, approximately three hours and has proven extremely popular since its release;
2) Full of sex, drugs and expletives…this is not one for the children!

In other words, if you’re thinking of seeing The Wolf of Wall Street, consider seeing it at a premium cinema venue but be prepared to have to book in advance…and don’t bring the kids!

Belfort has dreams of becoming rich and goes straight to Wall Street to pursue his dream of becoming a millionaire. He clearly has the capacity to be drawn into the excesses of Wall Street and is instructed by his first boss, played perfectly by Matthew McConaughey, to make his client’s money his own: “The name of the game, moving the money from the client’s pocket to your pocket”.

The ‘Wolf’ quickly becomes hooked on drugs, money and women…all in copious quantities and he often submits to his vices simultaneously throughout the movie. The film does not shy away from depicting Belfort’s extravagant yet vacuous lifestyle, however the slick Hollywood production combined with DiCaprio’s effortless charm do soften the edges. It really does feel like another world; a heady existence far removed from reality.

One of the film’s strengths is its many funny moments and generally self-deprecating delivery. Jonah Hill is an absolute standout on the comedic front, his strong commitment to the role of Belfort’s sidekick ‘Donnie Azoff’ providing many memorable moments.

Aussie export Margot Robbie deserves a mention, in her role as Belfort’s second wife. She copes with the Brooklyn accent well and the movie should certainly serve as an excellent platform from which she can build her career. Looking every inch the blonde bombshell, she drew audible gasps of appreciation from the men in the cinema and no doubt looks of admiration mixed with jealousy from the women!

One thing is for sure – if you are going to see this movie, be prepared to be inundated with the excesses of Belfort’s lifestyle but don’t expect to see screen time devoted to any of his victims. Whilst this has drawn criticism from many critics, it would simply have produced a completely different movie, i.e. a dramatic piece as opposed to the satire/comedy that it is. The relentless nature of the movie makes it clear that there was no intention of going down that path.

All in all, it’s an interesting and comical insight into a life more akin to a rock star than a regular civilian, which is no doubt a major factor inciting audiences to see the film. One word of caution: it’s not for the faint hearted or easily offended! 

Review by Sarah Lowry