The Wolf of Wall Street

Film , Drama
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  • 3 out of 5 stars
(20 user reviews)
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The director. The subject matter. The epic running time. All the signs pointed to real-life stock-market story ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ being classic, old-school Martin Scorsese: drugs, swearing, big speeches, bigger performances, a spot of social critique and lashings of classic rock. But while many of these elements are present, something unexpected has snuck in alongside them: huge, unashamedly crowd-pleasing laughs.

This is without doubt the funniest movie of Scorsese’s career – earlier efforts like ‘The King of Comedy’ and ‘After Hours’ may have been brilliant, but their chuckles were chillier and more unsettling. ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ plays modern tragedy as epic farce, reminding us just how much fun Scorsese can be when he’s in a playful mood.

It also proves – equally unexpectedly – that Leonardo DiCaprio can do comedy, too. He plays Jordan Belfort, an unscrupulous stock-market wizard who, in his early twenties, became a multi-multi-millionaire by fleecing Americans out of their hard-earned investments. Belfort – along with his goofy-toothed sidekick Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) – lived high on the hog for the best part of a decade, a constant roundelay of booze, yachts, hookers and hard drugs. That is, until the authorities came a-knocking...

Predictably, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ is more flash than substance. Scorsese never digs too deeply under the skin of these reprehensible playboy douchebags, and there are times where the swooping photography, smash-and-grab editing and toe-tapping soundtrack conspire to almost – almost – make us like them. But when the film’s cylinders are firing, it’s impossible not to be dragged along. The big set-pieces – a coke-fuelled lecture from an unscrupulous Matthew McConaughey, a squirm-inducing encounter between DiCaprio and Joanna Lumley on a London park bench, a Mediterranean cruise that goes horribly wrong and, most memorably, a grandiose slapstick sequence involving a sports car and a fistful of vintage quaaludes – are among the most memorable of Scorsese’s career, rivalling ‘Goodfellas’ for sheer vitality. The result may not be the most measured take on the ongoing financial crisis, but it is without doubt the most entertaining.

Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday January 17 2014
Duration: 180 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Martin Scorsese
Screenwriter: Terence Winter
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio
Jonah Hill
Matthew McConaughey

Average User Rating

3.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:8
  • 3 star:6
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:3
LiveReviews|20
2 people listening
Arnold Musisi
2 of 3 found helpful

There isn't a lot to dislike about this movie particularly having read the book. Before this film's release, I felt that I knew what to expect from Martin Scorsese and I was very curious to see what his take would be. But he executes it brilliantly and captures the true essence of the Wild West. And whilst Di Caprio is an absolute star as the over-indulgent, sex-crazed, degenerate drug addicted Jordan Belfort, I would keep an eye out for Jonah Hill at this year's Oscars as he is a revelation.

Marino Z
1 of 2 found helpful

LDC is masterly as usual. Film of two halves. One good one bad. Still its a Scorsese must see. Record use of the F word. I love Marmite but you may hate it.

Norman Lowther
1 of 2 found helpful

Give Leonardo the Leading Actor Oscar now for his excellent performance ! No disrespect to Chiwetel, but his performance, in 12 years a Slave, is nowhere in comparison to Leo's acting.

nicknickn
Tastemaker

This film is based on fact - the autobiography of the self proclaimed best salesman in the world about the decade he spent off his face on any drugs he could get his hands on. Perhaps not cold hard fact, then.

This is a funny, fast action romp with great performances, brilliant set pieces, and masterful direction. It is long for a film these days, but there is no let up in the action.

It is subversive. There is objectification of women - it is in the book and is central to the story. It does glamorise fraudulent drug fuelled excesses. It says that greed is bad but it depicts the opposite.

I hate to admit it, but I enjoyed the ride too much to worry about the morals of the person driving the car.

Luisa G
Tastemaker

Good film, DiCaprio was great as usual. The film was very long though!

Photosbysooz
Tastemaker

Apart from the excessive amount of near-perfect looking naked women, I rather enjoyed this film despite the main character Jordan Belfort not being a very nice man. He lives a selfish, drugged-fuelled, money grabbing, cheating existence and thinks only of himself. Yet annoyingly you end up routing for him. That in itself I believe is clever story telling.


From the opening shot to the very end the film takes you on a journey with camera work that draws you right in. This is what makes the film so compelling and, like the drug habits of Belfort himself, it's rather addictive. Perhaps the life he leads, the hedonism and the highs, is rather an enjoyable experience and for a whole 3 hours you get to travel along on this fantasy.

stephen j

Finally got around to watching this film, so I'm very late to the party (and boy what a party!).So as you'd expect with Scorsese this is a well executed, fantastic looking film with some great scenes and it's a nice change to see some brash (and pretty dark) comedy substituting the usual violence you'd associate with his best films. Overall great entertainment value and worth seeing on that basis but on the downside it's lacking any real depth - it doesn't attempt to explain what motivates the greed these people exhibit or the basis of their relationships (Di Caprio and Jonas, Di Caprio and his father). Also while Di Caprio does a good turn, for me  he doesn't earn any outstanding accolades. It's an over the top, fairly shallow character, there's no subtlety to the role which is down to the script rather than him but I can't help but think that most half descent actors would be able to turn in a convincing performance.

All in all though for a thoroughly enjoyable piece of entertaining escapism it's well worth a watch and it's a must see for any Scorsese and /or Di Caprio fans (which should be everyone right ?!)

Emily

Entertaining to a point, but it just goes on for too long, how many naked prostitutes and drug fuelled nights do you need to see? And it all is quite predictable in the end. There isn't much of a storyline behind it really, in that there isn't much new to say. It is all done very well, the acting us great but the great scenes with real tension were too few and far between.

Marissa Celenetti

My question is — is this movie doing anything new? At this point, “white Wall Street conmen experience meteoric rise and disgraceful plummet, as accompanied by prostitutes and drugs; cause us to question our own social values” isn’t new ground to tread. In a year where we had some pretty cool and unusual things happening in mainstream cinema (an animated “princess” movie where the most important relationship was between two sisters, a space thriller whose face was a middle-aged woman, a high-grossing action movie starring a young woman, a sci-fi blockbuster where 2/3 leads were NOT white men, a female buddy-cop movie), this just seems….tired. And honestly, nothing in this review is making me think the movie is going to ask any questions that haven’t been asked a million times, in similar explorations. Pass, sorry.

critique

Vibrant, morally dubious romp which rollicks along so entertainingly that the three hours seem a lot shorter than many a cinema visit to view standard length fare.

Paul

Yes, good but not great, too long and repetitive, but good if you are a guy under 23 easily entertained by sex with men in suits taking drugs and behaving strangely, chortle chortle. Lots of crowd pleasing laughs for fans of Jackass japes too, some unwelcome depictions of women and fails the Bechdel Test of course. A relieved audience when it finally ground to a halt and a muted exit out of the cinema to bed and Quaalude substitutes. Sex & Drugs, Mercy Mercy!

Juan Carlos

Its good but not great. Like a few said it does rather fizzle out towards the end and the last half an hour does seem rather abrupt. It is as if a 3 1/2 hour film had to be cut below 3 hours after original screenings. Di Caprio is excellent as is Hill though much as you root for them at times it is difficult to forget the yacht, house, drugs, hookers and beautiful wives came on the backs of people ripped off. Huge amounts of swearing and drugs and lots of sex and nudity. 4 stars good but not really Oscar worthy.

Mark

Funny as anything in the first 2/3 and then you start looking at your watch. Shame it was just another cliche type of Wall Street movie. Good movie, I know my brother would love it! Loved the decadence though. Hated the anti climax.

Edward

Heard one review on radio 4, they agreed it was too long but also said it was Scorsese`s funniest film. I don`t think it will be as good as The King of Comedy or After Hours. Think i`ll wait for the Kermode verdict before rushing out to watch a 3 hour movie.

Danielle Harpy

This terrible movie was like watching 5 beer commercials repeated for 3 hours (that seemed like 6 hours): superficial, boring, unfunny, misogynistic frat boy humor with no character or thematic development. It was a torturous waste of time.

justin

I just watched it and thought it was hilarious. It was not what I was expecting, but it might of been better. DiCaprio goes all out in a hollow character role as a greedy Stock Broker turned millionaire. Jonah Hill some how manages to upstage him with more over the top antics. Was this the deep Wall Street corruption film I thought it was going to be be? No, but it was very original in its hedonistic style. Never once does Scorsese ever try and show you a moral, no he's having way too much fun blowing excess up your ass, and I'm way too entertained to notice.