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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


Comments on: "Review on The Wolf of Wall Street" (6)

  1. Gerry OConnor said:

    I think this guy was interviewed by Anderson Cooper of CNN.  I was not interested therefore did not see that through.



  2. It is three-hours, but it never bored me. Not for a single second. Good review Wendy.


    • Thank you. Yes, the three hours went without me being aware it was extraordinarily long. It was gripping, despite the repetition of the drugs, foul language and sex scenes. Perhaps Scorsese needed to remind us that Belfort’s entire saga was focused on ‘money, sex and drugs.’ Thanks for the compliment on the review.


  3. I have been wanting to see this. People that I have spoken to either seem to adore the film or loathe it. I believe that films that spawn such a split reaction are usually interesting (even when I do not care for them). Scorsese is a true talent with an original voice. I am certain that I can find something in it to appreciate.


    • I enjoyed the movie and will admit, I only learnt after that it had run for 3 hours. It goes to show that it kept me focused from beginning to end. There is no question that Scorsese is a master and he kept the pace up beautifully. FYI (I don’t think the following will spoil the movie for you) – According to Scorsese, Spielberg, who had dropped in on the set, pretty well directed the Steve Madden (Shoe designer/manufacturer) scene by advising the actors and assisting with camera angles. Wanting badly to work with Scorsese, Jonah Hill (Belfort’s off-sider and one of the partners) angled for the role and took the SAG minimum salary of $60.000 for his part. Finally, watch out for the real Belfort, as he is in the final scene and plays the show host who introduces Belfort (DiCaprio) the financial motivator, to a New Zealand audience.


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