Review: The Wolf of Wall Street / Cert: 18 / Director: Martin Scorsese / Screenplay: Terence Winter / Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Rob Reiner / Release Date: 17th January
Right, where to begin? I guess the basic plot would be a start, although that’s a small issue in the grand scheme of this latest effort from the legendary Martin Scorsese. We find ourselves viewing the story of Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio), as he rises up from humble beginnings to become a high-rolling millionaire of massive proportions courtesy of some not-quite-legal stockbroking. Accompanying Belfort on the way to his luxurious lifestyle there’s plenty of style, charm, highs, sex, and a whole lot of illegal happenings, as he looks to chase the American dream whilst avoiding the FBI.
Don’t be mistaken, The Wolf of Wall Street is based on real-life events. How loosely based on those events the movie is, that’s up in the air. What is known is that there is a real Jordan Belfort who had a similar story, saw the error of his ways – courtesy of some time behind bars – and now does motivational speaking. Regardless of how accurate this movie is, Martin Scorsese delivers an absolutely stunning feature that will keep you entertained from the opening minute right through until the movie’s closing seconds.
Whilst not a straight-up comedy, The Wolf of Wall Street is crammed full of laugh-out-loud moments (I believe the kids call them a “lol”) and the story moves at a frantic pace. Leo’s Jordan Belfort spends 95% of the movie whacked-out on highly illegal substances, and you feel like you’re passively wasted just from watching the story unfold. Frenetic, energetic, electric, and effortlessly-cool, The Wolf of Wall Street is to cinema what Diego Maradona was to football; erratic, unnervingly brilliant, volatile, fuelled by cocaine, but constantly delivers a performance that cannot be bettered.
Yes, Leonardo DiCaprio is clearly the star of the show here, adding to an ever-increasing number of brilliant performances, but the supporting cast deserve a massive amount of praise. As Belfort’s second in command, Jonah Hill delivers a performance I honestly never thought I would see from him. The funny, chubby guy from the likes of Superbad and Get Him to the Greek comes of age here, delivering a turn that is a comedic highlight of Scorsese’s repertoire of films over the years.
Don’t be fooled, The Wolf of Wall Street is by far a straight-up comedy, but there are scenes a-plenty where you’ll find yourself genuinely howling with laughter. Whether it’s the early appearance by Matthew McConaughey, the mannerisms (and teeth) of Jonah Hill’s Donnie Azoff, the constant excess of DiCaprio’s Belfort, the fantastically-delivered hair-trigger temper of Rob Reiner’s Max Belfort, or a whole host of entertaining bullshit madness, this movie will simply grab your attention by the balls and demand that you focus all of your eyes on it.
The Wolf of Wall Street is right up there with the best of Martin Scorsese’s films, and that’s quite the compliment. Coming from the guy that brought us the likes of Mean Streets, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Casino and The Departed, we’re given a unique movie that pulls so many of the best elements from those films whilst still managing to firmly generate its own identity and charm. Added to this, DiCaprio takes one further step towards hammering home the fact that he is the best actor of his generation, hands down, delivering an instantly quotable jackass to rank up there with some of cinema’s finest assholes, turning out a loveable amalgamation of Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gekko, Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill, and ‘real life’s’ Donald Trump.
Set in an era of excess, The Wolf of Wall Street delivers exactly what you hoped for. Accompanied by an infectious soundtrack, we’re treated – and I mean treated – to a film that’s slick, smooth, littered with stunning performances, instantly quotable and infinitely rewatchable. Scorsese has played a blinder, and we’re given excellence at every turn. The iconic director gives us a film that is truly up there with some of his best work; DiCaprio brings yet another fantastic performance; Jonah Hill (yes, that Jonah Hill) is absolutely brilliant; and the supporting cast, made up of the likes of Joanna Lumley, Jon Bernthal (Shane from The Walking Dead), Jon Favreau, Kyle Chandler, Jean Dujardin and Margot Robbie, all excel at every given opportunity.
Simply put, The Wolf of Wall Street is a must-see movie. It’s very early in 2014, but it’s going to take something extraordinarily special to top The Wolf of Wall Street as this year’s best movie.