Martin Scorsese and his buddy Leonardo DiCaprio have teamed up once again for the epic film The Wolf of Wall Street. I say epic not only because it’s 3 hours long but also because it tells the story of a real-life con man in great detail. Jordan Belfort became one of the most successful stockbrokers of the 1990’s but did it playing by his own rules – and breaking many as well.
DiCaprio plays Belfort and we watch him go from a young nobody to essentially the guy who everyone wants to be. Early in the film, he meets with his first boss, played by Matthew McConaughey, who mentors him on how to succeed in the industry. He emphasizes doing cocaine and having sex with hookers to really help keep his mind clear. This sets the tone for the entire movie.
The film is one big adventure filled with revelry and debauchery. Stockbrokers and investors may not be viewed as fun guys who like to party. But Jordan Belfort and his team sure knew how to. After figuring out how to scam people out of their money and profit from it, he assembled a team and taught them how to follow his lead. They make so much money that they’re able to blow it on excessive parties right in their own office. This eventually leads to yachts and mansions. It may sound unbelievable but it’s true. The film is based on Belfort’s memoir which even the investigating FBI officer has confirmed as true. And yes, that means the government does become aware of what they’re doing and begins to watch them very closely. It all makes for an exciting film that’s much like Goodfellas but with stockbrokers rather than mobsters.
Jonah Hill is especially fun to watch as Belfort’s right-hand man. He’s much like the Joe Pesci to Robert De Niro in Goodfellas or Casino (both Scorsese films). His character is the best example of how an unattractive, schlubby guy who would normally not get much attention at all can get anything he wants with enough money. This is a long movie but it certainly doesn’t feel as lengthy as it is thanks to DiCaprio and Hill having a blast the entire time. The film is ultimately a lesson in how bad behavior and greed can cause your downfall, but it’s fun as hell to watch. And you’ll be wishing you were right there with them partying and blowing all that money away.