The Wolf Of Wall Street

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Director: Martin Scorsese.
Screenplay: Terrence Winter.
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Jean Dujardin, Kyle Chandler, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Rob Reiner, Pj Byrne, Kenneth Choi, Ethan Suplee, Jake Hoffman, Joanna Lumley, Shea Whigham, Cristin Milioti, Leah Ebersole, Katarina Cas, Brian Sacca, Henry Zebrowski, Spike Jonze.

On a daily basis I consume enough drugs to sedate Manhattan, Long Island, and Queens for a month. I take Quaaludes 10-15 times a day for my “back pain”, Adderall to stay focused, Xanax to take the edge off, part to mellow me out, cocaine to wake me back up again, and morphine… Well, because it’s awesome“.

Although retirement may possibly be on the horizon for one of America’s finest directors, at age 71, Martin Scorsese certainly doesn’t look like he’s slowing down. If anything, he’s as racy as he’s ever been and shows as much energy as someone half his age. “The Wolf Of Wall Street” may not be his most original approach to filmmaking. We’ve seen all this before as it strongly resembles the structure and downfall of Henry Hill in “Goodfellas“. It does feel a little like he’s repeating himself here but it’s still entirely suitable for the story he’s relating. I can’t see how else he would have done it. If he’d played it more straight, it probably wouldn’t have worked. He had to be outrageous and for that, it’s most certainly amongst his funniest outings.

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Based in the memoirs of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a Long Island penny stockbroker who served 36 months in prison for defrauding investors in a massive 1990s securities scam that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street and in the corporate banking world.

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On the surface of Scorsese’s latest tale of amorality it can often look like he’s glorifying the capitalist system and the enjoyment that wealth can bring but, in actual fact, this is less of a glorification and more of an indictment on American wolfishness or rapacity and the ruthlessness therein. He exposes corporate business in all of it’s avarice but never has such covetousness or amorality been so thoroughly enjoyable. This is thanks, in large, to Scorsese’s approach to the absurdity of it all and the commitment from all involved. What’s most apparent is it’s kinetic energy and the superb performances across the board.

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The ball really starts to roll with the energetic introduction of Matthew McConaughey. When he appears – as experienced stockbroker Mark Hanna – and gives a young, wet-behind-the-ears Belfort a lesson on how to succeed, he’s the catalyst for the mayhem that ensues. McConaughey’s role is short but sets the hilarious tone of the film wonderfully. From there, it’s all about Belfort taking his lesson and running with it. And run he does. This is one of DiCaprio’s best and bravest performances. He delivers a virile and dynamic show that actually demands him to be very physical. Not just dramatically but comedically as well, and he handles both angles with aplomb. If truth be told, DiCaprio has a funny bone that I never realised he possessed. With his running commentary on the events that took place, he breaks the fourth wall to add a more personal and involving touch and makes the audience complicit in all of his dodgy dealings and shenanigans.

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As it’s constructed in a non-linear approach, our first introduction to Belfort’s debauchery (when he’s already successful) sees him, literally, tossing dwarves at a dartboard to indulge his hedonistic ways before we then see him (again, literally) blowing cocaine up a prostitutes arse. And that’s just the beginning… What’s follows is one of the most raunchy and outrageous films that Scorsese and DiCaprio have ever been involved in. When things are in full swing they’re positively rampant; every other minute we are exposed to naked women, orgies, public masturbation and enough drug taking to kill a small horse. By now, most people will have heard about the Quaaludes overdose scene which is absolutely hilarious and DiCaprio nails the histrionics as if he were a comic genius. He’s not the only one on form here, though, he’s aided immeasurably by Jonah Hill. Hill has already proven that he has great comic timing but, as he did in 2010’s “Moneyball“, he shows his solid acting chops again. The film benefits greatly from his presence and genuinely earns it’s laughs. Nothing feels forced and it’s great to see Scorsese handle so many hilarious scenes with the skill that he does. Granted, he’s tackled (dark) comedies before in “The King Of Comedy” and “After Hours“, but this is a very different beast altogether.

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The characters are certainly on the wrong end of the moral scale and teeter on the brink of losing your affection but with Scorsese’s deft handling of the tonal shifts he keeps the saga of their rambunctious and disorderly behaviour highly entertaining and holds your attention throughout it’s lengthy (but not overlong) three hour duration.
This is a director and actor who push new limits here with their tenacity and extravagance and the result could quite happy rest with the moniker… Raging Balls.

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Mark Walker

Trivia: In real life, Jordan Belfort says the model for his get-rich-quick and greedy behaviour was inspired by Michael Douglas’ portrayal of Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s 1987 film “Wall Street”.

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69 Responses to “The Wolf Of Wall Street”

  1. Great review.

    I think this movie was a bit overlong because many scenes were just repetitious, but in general, this is a great movie

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  2. Great review, Mark. I quite agree.

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  3. Well done, Mark. This is certainly one of the most provocative movies of the year, and the year is only getting started! I really hope Jonah Hill takes home some oscar gold for his role in this partly because I have a soft spot for him, but mostly because he was phenomenal in this movie.

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    • Thanks Smash. Along with Filth, this is certainly one of the most provocative. I loved every minute of it, though. Hill done well to get himself an Oscar nom and I think he deserves it but, unfortunately, I reckon it’s between Fassbender and Leto this year.

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      • Oh dammit, you’re right! I forgot about those two. Damn. Now that I think about it, if it has to go to one of those two then I hope it’s Leto. Fassbender actually gives me the creeps.

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      • Haha! Fassbender is a tad creepy I’ll admit but I think a lot of his performances call for that. I actually really like him and I’m rooting for him this year. Anyway, he’s a Celt. I’ve got to support the Celts. πŸ˜‰

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  4. Good review buddy. Once again I’m on a lonely, deserted island. I just couldn’t make it through this thing. I really found it to be repetitive, overindulgent, and relentless. In some ways that’s the point but I just don’t like Marty’s storytelling choice. You know who these characters are within 10 minutes of seeing them and he never does anything new with them (At least what I made it through). And then he milks “RisquΓ©” for all he can get.

    Sorry, don’t mean to blabber. I just really don’t like this movie. But like I said, I think I’m the only one. LOL.

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    • I remember you saying you struggled with it bro. Each to their own. I didn’t find it repetitious but it was overindulgent and relentless for sure. Thankfully, I have a strong stomach for this type if stuff, though, and found it hilarious. I was almost wetting myself with its sheer audacity at times. I thought it was fantastic and a very brave performance for DiCaprio. His best in a long time.

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      • You are not alone Keith, and you already know this.

        Sorry Mark, though some of the scenes are indeed hysterical, this film left such a bitter taste in my mouth. I agree it’s a brave performance for DiCaprio, esp the physical comedy stuff. However, I don’t think I can’t get behind the way the story is told.

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      • Like Keith, I remember you saying you couldn’t take to it, Ruth. That’s understandable. This certainly isn’t for everyone. Personally, I had a blast with it. One minute I was appreciating the acting chops, the next I was doubled-up in laughter and it kept that level of entertainment right to its very end. I thought it was fantastic.

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      • Hey we don’t always have to agree on everything πŸ™‚ I appreciate some of the elements of it, but in general this film is just not my cup of tea.

        Btw, hope you stop by later, would love to hear your opinion on my re-casting post πŸ˜€

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      • To be honest, I didn’t think this would be your cup of tea, Ruth. For me, it was like a fine wine though. πŸ˜‰

        Aaah! A re-casting post? I’ll certainly stop by later. I’m on way out to see Llewyn Davis.

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  5. Excellent review Mark! Definitely my favourite movie of last year, and DiCaprio and Scorsese definitely bring all the goods to the table again. DiCaprio is hilarious, and it was good to see him do some of that again. This was an incredibly enjoyable movie that was just done incredibly well and had a phenomenal cast to pull it all together.

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    • Cheers Zoe. DiCaprio and Scorsese certainly manage to pull this one off. Excellent entertainment and surprisingly hilarious. It’s not just one of the best of the year, it one of the funniest. I expected the odd laugh here and there but I was in complete knots at times. That overdose scene was something else.

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      • Haha Mark I understand, I had NO idea it was going to be that funny. That scene will remain a thing of legend for a good long while! My expectations for the film were exceeded, and that rarely happens!

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      • Haha! Definitely! I was holding my sides and had tears streaming down my face. It’s actually one of Scorsese’s best ever scenes in my opinion and definitely DiCAprio’s funniest. Sweet, sweet stuff and it will soon be iconic in the history of cinema.

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      • Me too. It starts as a giggle and eventually you’re just pissing yourself laughing because it just continues to escalate. I absolutely love those two together, just brilliant!

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      • Spot on Zoe! It’s amusing at first (although the dwarf tossing and McConaughey was a very strong start) but it does just get better and better.

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      • It just continues to build momentum. And as long as the movie is it doesn’t drag for me at all, it remains interesting and crazy all the way!

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  6. Great review! Glad you enjoyed this one. I loved this so much more than most of Scorsese’s other films! : )

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    • Cheers Disco girl. I’m very aware of some of your issues with the Scorsese classics πŸ˜‰ but glad to hear you enjoyed this one. Unadulterated fun of the highest order.

      By the way, I notice in my emails that you’ve got a review of your own? I’ll swing when I get the chance.

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  7. glad to see you pointed out DICaprio doing what he does best. I have always thought there is a wry comedic touch to him that means he is at his best for me when he plays absurd and unhinged; hence why I think The Aviator and Shutter Island are some of his best and of course Django! nice work sir!

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  8. Spot on review mate. This was just unadulterated fun, loved every second of it. It was a tad on the long side I thought but never boring. DiCaprio was brilliant, especially in the already famous Quaaludes scene. If DiCaprio won the Oscar I wouldn’t say he didn’t deserve it.

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    • Cheers Chris. 3 hours is definitely a lengthy running time but it honestly didn’t feel that long to me. It just flew by. I wouldn’t argue with DiCaprio getting the Oscar either. I’ve seen the award given for a less. He was outstanding. Still, I have a sneaky feeling that it’s going to be McConaughey’s year.

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  9. Everyone sure seem to like this thing…

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  10. Scorsese gives us another Goodfellas! Sounds perfect! I’m there! πŸ™‚

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  11. Good review Mark. It’s a long flick, heck, maybe longer than it should have been. But you know what? I had a freakin’ good time with this and would go to see it again if I ever got that chance, and had that much time in my day ready to be spent.

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  12. Popcorn Nights Says:

    Cracking stuff Mark, enjoyed reading that. I haven’t seen it yet but will catch it later this week … can’t wait, sounds superb. Had a sudden lump in my throat when you mentioned the words ‘Scorsese’, ’71’ and ‘retirement’ in the same sentence. Every new film of his must be cherished!

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    • Cheers Stu. Apparently Scorsese has said himself that retirement is on the cards for him after a few more projects. On this evidence and energy, he could go on for for ever. I’m telling you, man. This could easily have been made by someone half his age (Paul Thomas Anderson maybe). You wouldn’t reckon at 71 you’d still be doing stuff like this. A true master of his craft and a damn fine entertainer.

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  13. Great review! I basically couldn’t agree with you more. I also didn’t know that DiCaprio had that physical comedian inside of him but I surely was glad to see it.

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    • He was great though wasn’t he? I’ve always been a fan of his but that was a whole new side that was excellent to see. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. πŸ™‚

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  14. Great that you liked the movie and praised Hill – so many people are so bitter about his nomination but for me it’s one of the most well deserved nominations in last few years, I cannot imagine this movie without him, he provided such great support for DiCaprio and so many laughs.

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  15. Nice review, Mark. Definitely enjoyed this movie quite a bit as well, and I’m especially glad to see the great performances from Hill and DiCaprio didn’t go unnoticed in this year’s awards season.

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  16. Great write-up, Mark. While I did think this was overlong, I still had a lot of fun. The performances are superb.

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  17. Glad you love the film, Mark. I agree that Hill is great in it and he certainly deserves the nomination. Acting chops indeed!

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  18. Raging Bulls. I like it! That De Niro Blogathon is getting everywhere! Tip top read Mark πŸ™‚

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  19. Nice review. I agree the movie is a bit too lengthy but that being said I loved every second of it. It really lived up on a second viewing for me and I agree that Scorsese’s nowhere near slowing down.

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  20. Great review Mark, will have to see this when I get chance.

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  21. Great review sir. Can’t see this one not being in my top 10 of 2014 list. I’m still quoting the lines!

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  22. The fact that Scorsese hurried to get this out to qualify for the Academy Awards does show. It would’ve benefited from a bit more time in the editing room, but wow what a show! I enjoyed this overall.

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  23. Nice write up Mark. What a film huh? I loved the way it caught me off guard and Leo’s performance, where do you begin? I hope this time he walks away with the Oscar.

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    • Cheers Allan. Some film indeed. DiCaprio was exceptional in it and I wouldn’t argue if he did take the Oscar but I get a feeling that McConaughey’s gonna snap it up this year.

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      • Whoever does end up taking the Oscar, nobody can argue that each performance nominated is more than a deserved winner. But yes, I think McConaughey will be the victorious on the night.

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      • I’d definitely agree there, man. Whoever takes the award can feel themselves worthy. A lot of actors were even surprisingly left out. Oscar Issacs springs to mind and I’m gutted James McAvoy in Filth was overlooked (although not surprised).
        Still, I’d put my money on McConaughey.

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  24. haahha “Raging Balls.” Good one! Terrific write up as always sir, and I fully am on board with your opinion here. Just an absolute blast, and I’m quite surprised I avoided seeing this a second time in theaters. This is one I’ll be seeking on DVD soon since I hear it will come with a 4-hour cut. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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  25. As Tom mentioned above, cant wait to see if Marty releases the 4 hour plus version he wants to.

    Just watched this myself, loved it. Very reminiscent of Goodfellas, and whilst not as good, it’s still a superb movie. Not quite top 5 Scorese for me (needed a touch of Bobby D in there) but cant wait to see it again.

    Margot Robbie is stunning πŸ™‚

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    • Well hello there sir! To what do I owe the pleasure? πŸ˜‰

      Agreed, though. Very much like Goodfellas in its structure and definitely missing some DeNiro but still a great movie. A whole lotta fun and a 4 hour cut would go down nicely.

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  26. Great review. I truly enjoyed all the fun bits too in this one but I think the film would have been better if it concentrated on specific scenes more rather than racing through the timeline. Scorsese did a better job in ‘Aviator’ which I enjoyed more. Apart from out-dated drug sequence and DiCaprio’s speeches there were few truly meaningful and interesting scenes in this one. As for DiCaprio’s Oscar nomination, where have they been all these years? πŸ˜‰ DiCaprio does not show more or less than he did in his previous films; it seems that if you are in an Oscar-nominated film, you have 98 per cent of screen time and it seems you worked very hard as Portman did in ‘Black Swan’, you are up there for a nomination.

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    • Thanks! I thought this was a total riot from beginning to end. I can see what you mean by concentrating on specific scenes. Apparently, Scorsese rushed this out for awards season so perhaps the editing wasn’t as tight as it could have been. Still, it was one of the most entertaining films of the year and I have to say, I thought DiCaprio was excellent. McConaughey still deserved the Oscar, though.

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