By Edward Davies
You could use every single adjective known to try and describe The Wolf of Wall Street and each would probably have some relevance! It is a career pinpoint for Leonardo DiCaprio, and a picture which is rightly among the Oscar nominations.
The movie and indeed the story of Jordan Belfort and his crimes is heavily sensationalized, covered in rampant nudity and embarrassingly common drug abuse, with an outrageously funny yet twisted script. What Scorsese has done perfectly here, though, is not only ridicule Jordan’s journey through finance with his real life crimes but showers it with so much sexually driven debauchery that it almost seems like an accepted norm. We never question the behaviour of Jordan and his colleagues – the sex and drugs and scandal is thrown at us with such arrogance that we dare not protest it, but instead revel in its slimy glory.
The comedy, dark and painfully amusing at times, also fits well, with Jordan’s overdose on an expired pill which gave me temporary ‘cerebral palsy’ a moment which you felt bad for laughing at, but also felt such admiration for how wonderfully hilarious DiCaprio makes it.
DiCaprio, outstandingly confident and majestically disgusting at times as Belfort, is supported by a strong cast, with Jonah Hill in particular portraying assistant Donnie Azoff with naivety and swagger, but never overshadowing DiCaprio.
The running time itself at 3 hours is extensive and the fat could have done with some trimming. Some lines of the plot were perhaps recycled once too often – the conviction of Jordan and the FBI case on him could have been considerably cut.
But The Wolf of Wall Street is not only an outstanding spin on the life of Jordan Belfort, it is a hallmark for biographical cinema by Scorsese. A brilliantly addictive watch.