Wall Street gone wild

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ review

By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer


The Wolf of Wall Street is based off the autobiographical novel by Jordan Belfort, a man who rose to power and riches in the stock market in the 1980s and 1990s. To do so, he scammed over many customers and businesses, and is still paying for his crimes today. This movie tells the story of his rise and fall, and the crazy nature of Wall Street. It’s a dark comedy, with many scenes of both hilarity and drama.

The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, and a fabulous supporting cast.

DiCaprio is one of the finest living actors. He will be remembered for decades to come as another Marlon Brando or Jack Nicholson. The man has yet to win an Oscar for any of his powerful roles, but his performance as a drug-addled, corrupt, hedonistic businessman just might do it. DiCaprio has a knack for playing a charming, untrustworthy gentleman in films—The Great Gatsby, Catch Me If You Can—and this is no exception.

However, the role never feels unbelievable or typecast. In most movies, DiCaprio is playing a version of himself; in this one, he truly gives the impression of playing a different character. Maybe it’s the hair dye, but the guy is almost 40 and he doesn’t look a day over 26. Belfort is a complex character with some very intense scenes, especially the ones where he’s tripping high on every kind of drug imaginable. His manic drug states left me laughing, crying, and terrified—sometimes within seconds of each other.

The rest of the cast also deliver stellar performances, like Jonah Hill, who plays Belfort’s equally corrupt business partner. Although he has tons of funny moments (a scene of him exposing himself at a party brought the theatre to tears), the role is somewhat more mature and complex than what he plays in most of his movies. It’s refreshing, and showcases Hill’s natural talent.

Matthew McConaughey, although featured heavily in the advertising, is only in the beginning of the film for a couple scenes. Despite his lack of screen time, he steals the show and plays an important role in the story. The movie has a lot of characters, but McConaughey stands out in his corruption and hilarity as a top stockbroker.

Visually and aesthetically, the film does not disappoint. Martin Scorsese is of course well-regarded as one of the greatest directors of all time, and he continues this reputation into the 21st century. Shutter Island and The Departed, both starring DiCaprio, are just a few of his recent hits, proving the bond the two have as director and actor.

The film also contains many cool cars, beautiful houses and scenery, and gratuitous amounts of fan service. There’s a lot of nudity for both genders. The cast is pretty attractive, and it’s definitely a thrilling ride (literally, in the car and boat scenes).

A good movie makes you think and reflect—even better if it’s able to do that without shoving an opinion down your throat. The Wolf of Wall Street gives a message about the super-rich and the ways they scam the working class. Belfort’s lifestyle of being super rich, doing lots of drugs, and hooking up with gorgeous women may well seem appealing to the viewer—at least in the first half. It never completely suggests Belfort is a truly evil man, nor does it make us sympathize with him much. One is left to draw their own conclusion and think of him as a complex character, as he is in real life.

It was the final movie I saw in 2013, and definitely one of the best; lots of Oscar buzz generated, I imagine. I highly recommend it—a full three hours of great fun, excellent story, and everything that makes Hollywood what it is.