It was hard to imagine a more preposterous display of out-of-control debauchery than the big party in last year’s teen sex comedy, “Project X.” However, leave it up to director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio to take debauchery to another level with their fifth collaboration, “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Sex, drugs and money is what makes the world of Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) go round. Before all that came into the picture, Jordan was a young starry-eyed stockbroker with dreams of making it big on Wall Street. His mentor Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey in a slimy scene-stealing role) teaches him the ropes and how to become a successful stockbroker even if it means partaking in illegal activities.
Belfort’s road to success begins in Long Island when he starts his own brokerage firm, Stratton Oakmont, with his partner-in-crime Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) and some of Jordan’s weed-dealing friends. Through the late 80s/early 90s, Belfort and his crew of savage financiers swindled money from ordinary people using penny stocks. With a big yacht, a beautiful model-wife (Margot Robbie) at his side and an arsenal of drugs at his disposal, it seemed like Belfort was on top of the world until he became the target of an FBI investigation.
Based on a true story and adapted from the memoirs of Belfort, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is a wild and crazy ride from start to finish. Scorsese and screenwriter Terrance Winter (“The Sopranos”) plays it loose and fun with this tale of decadence and greed has a similar structure to Scorsese’s classic film “Goodfellas” from Jordan telling his story to the audience to showcasing the debaucherous and lavish lifestyle the main characters are living (even though it is through unscrupulous means).
Even thought this is not one of his most personal films, Scorsese’s fingerprints are all over this from the swopping camera movements to a great selection of songs from the soundtrack. With aid from his longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker, Scorsese is able to make time go by fast as they managed to maintain the film’s manic energy without hitting a lull even though the movie is three hours long.
DiCaprio’s sleazy and charismatic performance as Belfort is unlike any performance that the actor has taken on before. Hiding underneath boyish good looks and his smile is a corrupt and poisonous soul that is willing to go to any depths in order to maintain his lavish lifestyle. DiCaprio even gets the chance to showcase his talent for physical comedy in a long, drawn-out sequence in a scene is that is funnier than any comedy that has come out this year.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” also features a fantastic and talented supporting cast that includes Hill decked out in fake choppers and gigantic eyeglasses, Kyle Chandler as the FBI investigator going after Belfort, Rob Reiner as Belfort’s cantankerous accountant father, Jean Dujardin as a corrupt Swiss banker and Jon Bernthal as a temperamental drug dealer known as “The Quaalude King of Bayside.”
“The Wolf of Wall Street” is a cinematic experience unlike any movie to grace the silver screen this year. Scorsese and DiCaprio are truly on top of their game in their latest collaboration with this witty take on the world of the stock market.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” is now playing in Hialeah theaters. Click here for showtimes.