When it comes to Martin Scorsese & his films, I respect the hell out of that filmmaker but most of his films, especially the ones starring Robert De Niro, just never clicked with me & I found them unsatisfactory to a great extent. Whatever works I’ve watched of this director, it’s only the performances in them that managed to impress me most & not the films on full scale. But his films of 21st century, however, especially the ones starring Leonardo DiCaprio did begin a change. The performances still impressed me more than the movies, be it Gangs of New York or The Aviator, but then also came two exceptions in the form of The Departed & Shutter Island, that I ended up absolutely adoring. And now, Martin Scorsese’s latest joins that same exception class as The Wolf of Wall Street took me by great surprise & turned out to be completely opposite of what I was expecting from it and, in my opinion, it is one of the finest & most entertaining films of what has been a terrific year for movies.
Based on the memoirs of the same name, The Wolf of Wall Street tells the story of Jordan Belfort and covers his rise as a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption & federal government. Belfort joins a Wall Street firm as an intern to someday live his dreams as a successful broker & is mentored by his boss, Mark Hanna, who introduces him to a lifestyle of drugs & sex. On his first day as a stock broker, the market crashes heavily which results in him losing his job with several others. While looking for other career options, he comes across Penny Stocks where his aggressive & impressive pitching style earns him a new respect. He soon opens a brokerage firm of his own & recruits several of his friends and with his mentorship & salesman skills, the firm soon transforms into a billion-dollar company. Riding on too much success & money, Belfort & his friends enjoy a lifestyle of lavish parties, sex & drugs, both at workplace & their personal lives, but it all eventually comes under the attention of FBI whose investigation ultimately exposes the widespread corruption within Wall Street, thus commencing the decline of Belfort’s empire.
I won’t deny that while going for this film, I had zero to negative expectations from it. When its trailer came out few months ago, it looked like a fucked up cinema about money, party, sex & drugs on loop for three long hours. And honestly, The Wolf of Wall Street turned out to be exactly that; money, party, sex & drugs on loop for three fucking hours and yet, I ended up really enjoying it & the biggest plus, didn’t get bored for even a second; something that rarely happens when I’m watching this director’s works. There is so much in this film that could’ve gone terribly wrong & would’ve turned it into a complete disaster if someone other than Scorsese was at the director’s helm. It is Martin Scorsese’s assured direction only that masterfully rescues this overdosed cinema from passing out completely & without him, The Wolf of Wall Street would’ve simply looked like stupid degenerates doing stupid things & drowning in their own shit. But Scorsese maintains a remarkable sense of control on this crazy riot & even manages to infuse a sense of justice in what is not a representation but clearly a celebration of the very people who tricked others’ into their fraudulent schemes in order to become rich real quick.
Coming to the performances, The Wolf of Wall Street exhibits a crazy cast in Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Margot Robbie, Rob Reiner, Kyle Chandler, Jean Dujardin & others, spearheaded by Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio is one of our generation’s finest actors with a remarkable talent that, for the major part of his career, has been overshadowed by his gifted good looks. And in this film, DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort delivers an insanely manic, rousing & exuberant performance, that’s easily one of year’s best, and excellently puts on the screen a money-making, sex & drug-addict maniac that neither has any morals nor self-control. Supporting him with equal zest is Jonah Hill as Donnie Azoff; Belfort’s sidekick, and even he manages to make a mark of his own. The young & sultry Margot Robbie plays Naomi; Belfort’s second wife and she does an alluring job in her given role. Matthew McConaughey is in for a very short duration as Mark Hanna; Belfort’s mentor, but even in that little time, he is the show-stealer & dominated the screen unlike anyone else. Rob Reiner plays “Mad” Max; Jordan’s father & handler of his finances. Kyle Chandler is in as Patrick Denham; the FBI agent who investigates Belfort & his company and finally, we also have Jean Dujardin making an appearance after a long time as Saurel; the accountant for Belfort’s Swiss Bank account.
Amidst all the debauchery & insanity, The Wolf of Wall Street is primarily a story about excess. The excess of everything; be it drugs, money or sex. The film is degenerating, vulgar, deranged, indecent, maddening & ethically disturbing but it’s also unabashedly entertaining & downright hilarious. Every single thing in this film begins & remains in the hyperactive zone and to imagine that it paints an authentic portrait of Manhattan’s financial sector of 1990s is undoubtedly alarming. One probably wouldn’t find much of a story here & even if he discovers that an intricate storytelling is shaping up in the film’s final hours, it all ends too soon. This isn’t one of those films that everyone will enjoy. While some will find it exciting & revel in its craziness, others might end up very displeased or annoyed with what it depicts & how it depicts. The film never takes itself seriously, which can be argued from both positive & negative sides, but what you expect to see in this film is the criteria that’ll decide whether you’ll love it or hate it. Overall, in spite of being full of bullshit, The Wolf of Wall Street is a stylishly directed, cleverly scripted, lively photographed, smoothly edited & manically performed motion picture that’s already high on dope from its opening moments but continues to snort more of that fucking white powder every five fucking minutes for the next three fucking hours and presents both Martin Scorsese & Leonardo DiCaprio in their most dynamic form since their 2006 venture, The Departed. Recommendation? Watch it at your own risk.