Rated: 18, 180 mins
Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Kyle Chandler
Whether you love it or hate it, awards season is upon us, and with less than a month to go until the 86th Academy Awards, I decided to get a move on watching the best picture nominees. I’d already ticked Gravity off my list, so on to the next- The Wolf of Wall Street. It’s not a particularly bad follow on, seeing as for the lucrative Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) the sky really also seemed to be the limit.
The film makes no apologies for its subject matter and dives straight in to a dwarf tossing contest, zooming in on Jordan’s enraged face. Office parties ensue that would give health and safety a field day in present time, complete with a female employee volunteering to have her head shaved for $10,000 to go towards a boob job. None of this is falsification.
We’re taken on a journey of how this powerful man came to own his own trading floor and the loyal friends he took with him along the way, dazzled by the promise of money. Jordan meets Donnie (Jonah Hill) during his time working at a penny stock brokers. Donnie, bewitched by Jordan’s salary, quits his job on the spot and they go into business together. This is the start of what was to be Jordan’s empire and legacy and his rise to Wall Street.
The tale pulls you in, though the sympathy for Jordan is never there. He is not simply swept up in the situation, in fact, he revels in it. He takes every piece of advice he receives and pushes it to the extreme whether it be how to use drugs for the working day, sex with prostitutes in the office, or, his eventual downfall, illegal trading.
The ups and downs of his life are compelling, and somehow amongst the worrying drug abuse, greed and filth, there is humour in the film. The best scene perhaps where Jordan, incapacitated from drugs, has to crawl his way to his sports car from the country club, drooling and contorting his body along. As shocking as this sounds, because it is, it was a strangely hilarious moment in the film. These flashes of hilarity, however, are quickly combated by painful domestic violence and family break downs.
This film isn’t intended to glamourise or encourage Jordan’s behaviour. It is an entertaining insight into how the other half live, namely, their perceived invincibility. Most importantly, perhaps, the message is this: money really isn’t everything at the end of the day.
A fantastic performance from Leonardo and Jonah Hill alike. I’m gunning for Leonardo for the Best Actor Oscar, it really couldn’t be more deserved as his years of fantastic performances culminate in this fascinating peek into Jordan Belfort’s career.