It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted a movie review here on the site. That’s not to say that I’m not watching movies… far from it. It’s just that I’ve been watching primarily horror flicks which I review over at ScareTissue.com.
That said, Wife and kids were out of town recently and I had the opportunity to watch a non-horror flick in the theater: The Wolf of Wall Street. I’d been interested in this one since I saw the trailer so Marko and I went out for drinks and a movie.
SPOILER ALERT: This review will talk openly about the plot of the film. If you don’t want to be spoiled skip the review until you’ve seen it.
THE PLOT Its 1987 and Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a newbie stockbroker. His first day as a licensed broker is Black Monday and he turns to a Long Island boiler room dealing in penny stocks. It turns out Jordan’s aggressive pitch style makes him perfect to sell these garbage stocks and before you know it Jordan’s become a bazzillionaire. He starts his own firm (Stratton Oakmont) with his buddies who know more about selling drugs than stocks. Forbes does a cover story on Jordan and dub him the “Wolf of Wall Street” and while Jordan thinks this is going to crush him, it turns him and his firm into THE place to be on Wall Street.
What comes next is nearly 3 hours of sex, drugs and scams. Jordan regularly uses hookers and does more cocaine and Quaaludes than you can shake a stick at. FBI Agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) starts and investigation in the firm, Jordan meets a new hottie Naomi (Margot Robbie), dumps his current hottie (Cristin Milioti) and ultimately gets brought down by the SEC.
After the IPO of Steve Madden, Jordan needs to hide his money in a Swiss bank account. He opens accounts in his wife’s aunt’s name and begins to smuggle cash into Switzerland. This comes to an end when friends turn on one another, drugs and greed get in the way and ultimately Jordan rats on his buddies to earn himself a lesser sentence in a minimum security prison where he plays tennis all day. After getting out of country club prison, Jordan starts seminars to teach people his massively successful sales techniques.
If we’re to believe this “true story” then Jordan Belfort is one of the biggest dicks on the planet and has nearly no redeeming qualities. Luckily, Leonardo DiCaprio is a tremendous actor and Martin Scorsese is a brilliant director so the movie doesn’t suffer the same fate. I’m not what you could consider a DeCaprio “fan” but I have to say I can’t remember a role that I didn’t like him in. Dude can flat out act. He embodies this role from beginning to end, and even when he’s breaking the 4th wall (which I sort of enjoyed) he’s still “in character”. As of this writing he’s already won the Golden Globe for Best Actor (musical or comedy) and has been nominated for the Oscar. I’ve not seen all of the other performances nominated, but I’d be shocked if there were a better one out there this year.
I won’t bore you with how good I think Scorsese is. I’ll leave it at “brilliant”. What I WILL say about Scorsese is that he needs to take an editing class. This flick is WAY too long. Like 40 minutes too long. I can’t say that I was ever bored, but there’s only so much drugs, hookers and money you can handle. I’ve heard that there’s an additional hour or so of footage that WAS left on the cutting room floor. I can’t even imagine what a 4+ hour cut of this movie would look like.
I mentioned her in the recap, but I’ve got to point out Margo Robbie here. Good lord is this woman beautiful…. and she can actually act too! I’d never seen or heard of her before (She was in the short-lived Pan-Am and some soap called Neighbours) but based on this performance (and honestly how hot she is) I’m guessing we’ll be seeing quite a bit more of her in the future. Not that I can really see much more of her. She goes full frontal in this flick but it’s tasteful. Sure… just like Playboy is tasteful.
It’s been reported that this flick uses the “f-bomb” more times than any other in history. Honestly I didn’t really notice it and it didn’t bother me as after a while you just sort of become numb to it. What I did notice was the over the top opulence that this movie portrays. You’d have to be asleep to not see it. The first scenes of the movie are Leo doing blow off a girls ass and a midget tossing… and it gets amped up from there. I had an older couple walk out of my screening with looks of disgust on their faces and mumbling as they walked past me. Lightweights.
The rest of the cast does an admirable job. I’ve never been a fan of Jonah Hill and while he didn’t do a bad job here I’m still not a fan. Jon Bernthal (Shane from The Walking Dead) looks like he’s got a painted on mustache but plays a drug dealer pretty well. Kyle Chandler plays the FBI agent going after Jordan sort of stiffly… but that’s probably the way a mid 80’s FBI agent should be played. Matthew McConaughey has one scene at the beginning of the movie which is absolutely awesome. I’d be shocked if this was a “real” character from Belfort’s life but it’d be awesome to meet such a chap. The rest of the cast is noteworthy in that they blend in to tell the story. No one stands out as terrible or awesome but that’s OK cause this is Jordan’s story and he’s really the only one we care about.
The Wolf of Wall Street tells the story of penny stock brokering in the 80’s. It’s Wall Street turned up to 11. The hooker, blow, Wall Street, Charlie Sheen irony here is thick but this is Leo’s movie. Bud Fox has nothing on Jordan Belfort. I suppose we’re supposed to be rooting for Belfort, but with absolutely no redeeming qualities it’s tough to. No one really gets what’s coming to them in the end so the story just sort of ends. If you’re offended by nudity, language and drugs (LOTS of drugs) then this isn’t for you. But if you liked Wall Street but thought it wasn’t “enough” then this one will be perfect.
Have you seen The Wolf of Wall Street? What’d you think?