Movie Review Series: “The Wolf of Wall Street”


Martin Scorsese has done it again.  His newest project, The Wolf of Wall Street, has once again dominated the big screen and seems in line for a mighty presence at the Academy Awards in February.  With an abundance of sex, drugs, and money Scorsese, taking from main character Jordan Belfort’s best-selling biography, paints the quintessential rollercoaster story of greed, lust, and hubris.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance as stockbroker and money launderer Jordan Belfort is truly unforgettable.  Belfort enters the Wall Street culture as a young stockbroker who refuses a martini while at dinner with his first boss played by Matthew McConaughey.  Easily one of my favorite scenes in the movie, McConaughey tutors the young Belfort on the reality of the finance world, a world fueled by sex and drugs.  It’s all downhill from there for Belfort.

Recruiting a rag tag group of his old and crudely uneducated buddies, Belfort opens up his own business after discovering he can secretly violate the rules of Wall Street.  The business takes off and before long Belfort is re-married to a gorgeous blonde (Margot Robbie), living in a mansion on Long Island, and involved in a ludicrous amount of drugs.

Soon enough the mighty must fall and on a visit from FBI agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) on the stockbroker’s yacht, Belfort begins to dig his own grave.  Belfort begins to scramble and tries to move his money to a Swiss bank while still staying undercover.

I would have loved to have seen Leo this passionate in his role as Jay Gatsby earlier this year, but it seems  like the rock star role of Belfort is much more suiting to a man like Leo.  The acclaimed salesman even tries selling us the movie when Scorsese turns the narration into a commercial-like narration with Leo talking directly to the viewers.

One problem I have with the movie is the end.  Without giving much away, Scorsese, maybe on purpose, does not leave the viewer with a clear idea of who Belfort is nowadays.  There is no angle taken on the convicted felon.  People leave the movie theater thinking: “Hey I might try a get rich quick scheme like that”.  I think Scorsese needed to mention that Belfort, like many other Wall Street felons, spent a handful of years in prison plus being burdened with a hefty restitution bill for the people the stockbroker cheated.

Though it is despicable that there are people like Jordan Belfort still in the finance world, the movie is addicting.  Some parts of the three-hour-long film are a bit overcooked and dragged out, but it is not until you leave the theater that you truly appreciate each and every scene of this dark comedy.  From Aviator to The Departed to The Wolf of Wall Street the Scorsese-DiCaprio duo simply pumps out thrilling and thought-provoking movies.  It will be interesting to see what project the Hollywood couple will take on next, but for now I have to respect their latest one and give The Wolf of Wall Street an 8.7 out of 10.


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