One word describes Jordan Belfort’s true saga and it is, ‘excess.’ Excess in sex, drugs, corruption and the pursuit and idolatry of the greenback! Belfort confesses all through the narration of his rise and subsequent fall in the heady world of Wall Streets’ Stock markets.
Director Martin Scorsese spares nothing in faithfully delivering Belfort’s warts and all revelation in The Wolf of Wall Street and Leonardo DiCaprio, being mentored by the protagonist himself, carries the role with his usual professionalism.
Australia’s own Margot Robbie, a former cast member of Neighbours, delivers her accent like a native New Yorker and is impressive as wife number two. Flawless in both her performance and her looks, Robbie will hopefully be a contender for the Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards.
While the movie is three hours long, the constant momentum, action and delivery are such that time flies without the viewer being aware of it. Colourful language is used extensively throughout and according to a Parents’ guideline report on IMDB, the film wins the record for the excessive use of the F-word with the figure of 506; the S-word, 79 times and finally, the C-word, three times.
Described by many critics as ‘soft porn,’ the film has an R (18+) rating. Viewers are exposed to blatant drug use, full frontal nudity, debauchery, prostitution, violence and corruption. Belfort makes no apology for his role behind the corruption; readily flaunts it and revels in his street-smart astuteness in exploiting the greed of his clients. He readily acknowledges his addictions to sex, drugs and money. Broker Mark Hanna, played well but briefly by Matthew McConaughey, sums up Belfort’s corrupt, Stratton Oakmont brokerage firm’s mentality with, ‘The name of the game, moving the money from the client’s pocket to your pocket.’
There are comedic interactions between the players, which bring relief from the bombardment of drug abuse and sexual excess. And Belfort does have charisma and the gift of getting the best from his workforce. It is a talent that he, after his imprisonment, is utilising on his motivational tours.
The story is based on Jordan Belfort’s tell-all book but in the final analysis, the viewer may need to question the authenticity and reality of a self-confessed, drug-fuelled, decadent and self-absorbed criminal. The Wolf of Wall Street does entertain and although Martin Scorsese projects and displays the excesses, he may be leaving the moral compass assessment to the viewers to work out for themselves.
© Wendy Robinson 2014
The values by which we are to survive are not rules for just and unjust conduct, but are those deeper illuminations in whose light justice and injustice, good and evil, means and ends are seen in fearful sharpness of outline. ~ Jacob Bronowski