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The Wolf Of Wall Street (Review 2)





Released: 17th January 2014

Directed By: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Leonardo Dicaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie

Certificate: 18

Reviewed By: Darryl Griffiths

‘Sell me this pen!’. A straightforward test of one’s skills you would suspect.  Yet at one point during Martin Scorsese’s and Leonardo Dicaprio’s dynamic and fifth collaboration, a task met with staggered attempts and widespread bemusement. Prompting a plethora of questions.. in a land saturated with wannabe suit-donning ‘money-makers’ and with the idea of ‘opportunity’ somewhat decaying and suffocated by the tightening of the purse strings. Where’s the articulate know-how? Where’s the unflinching ambition? The most crucial, is ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’ a glorification of a dying breed of business man, in Jordan Belfort?

The year 1987, an aspirational and thoughtful soul whose moral compass is corrupted by chest-pounding cocaine-fuelled egomaniac Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) and within days of gracing Wall Street, a casualty of the infamous ‘Black Monday’ stock crash. Restricted in his options to help provide for his doting wife Teresa (Cristin Milloti), Belfort’s (Leonardo Dicaprio) high hopes are confined to the Long Island state as he becomes acquainted and ultimately seduced by penny stocks and the illegal/generous commission they generate.

His peers both equally impressed and intimidated by his exceptionally direct approach, we witness the outrageous rise of a Belfort ‘Empire’ by the name of Stratton Oakmont. Assisted by the glistening white teeth and motor mouth of Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) and a rag-tag of ‘accountants’, the ‘new kids on the block’ soon build a rebellious reputation, solidified by their outlandish post-work antics. Disintegration of marriage (enter Margot Robbie’s glamorous Naomi) , screw jobs over clients once deemed friends and the FBI led by agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) keeping tabs on such dealings, Belfort’s greed ‘complex’ comes under severe strain as the lavish lifestyle and the underhanded tactics that have encapsulated his career come back to haunt him.

Midgets with crash helmets thrown into a mock wheel of ‘fortune’. Orgies in mansions and unprecedented claims to join the ‘Mile High’ club. Complete with a voiceover arguably aiding the potential disbelief of its audience in the  antics that took place, its director doesn’t flinch in embracing the outrageous excesses of a world that frighteningly resembles today’s ‘party-hard’ culture.

Dialling up the sly, pitch-black humorous undercurrent that has bubbled under many of his early works and attacking the material with an energy and vigour that defies a man talking retirement, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ is audacious in its running time and approach yet remains relentlessly entertaining. Playing out as a sharp satire intertwined with the feel of a screwball comedy, the farcical element of both sub-genres is superbly captured and dissected by Scorsese.

The seemingly harmless infomercials/phone calls conducted by businesses pummelling its consumers with luxury, juxtaposed with the harmful set-pieces we bare witness to, the film is deftly injected with a jarring sense of reality once the glossy tendencies veer close to being all too alluring.

Leonardo Dicaprio has often been considered a consistently great performer, but his electrifying portrayal of Belfort here is a career-best. Ferocious and fearless with all the physicality befitting of such a larger than life figure, the idea of garnering sympathy for such a horrid human being is sheer testament to the talents of its star. Fittingly complimenting its leading man and the film’s tone, Jonah Hill’s improvisational background and the further fledging of his dramatic chops as Donnie Azoff proves inspired casting whilst McConaughey’s trailer-teased, show-stealing cameo as Mark Hanna is glorious.

A cinematic ‘force of nature’ epitomised by an incredible lead performance, ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’ is an exhilarating three-hour riot that is as depraved as it is dazzling.

















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