There have been very few films this year that I have been as excited for as The Wolf of Wall Street– the last film I saw that made me this excited was The Amazing Spiderman (2012). From the first trailer back during the summer, this film had me hooked. The camera work, crude humor, fast-paced tone, excess nature of the characters, an awesome cast, an incredible director, and Kanye West “Black Skinhead” playing in the background, it all made me want to see this movie.
So, when the film came out I took the first opportunity I had to go see it. I had already began reading the book (also entitled The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort) and I was ready to see this film. After all, I take a lot of business classes at my college and I have pondered working on Wall Street a few times– I even had tours of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs the last time I was in New York City. But after hearing a few times that this film should have been rated NC-17 rather than R for the incessant drug use and nudity, I was a little nervous about seeing it– I am only a fan of excess nudity in a film or show if it adds to the entire thing and isn’t there just to be there. And, despite all the nudity and drugs (it’s introduced into the plot literally in the second scene about…..5 minutes into the film), I loved this film from the very beginning.
I loved the plot, the performances, the music, the cinematography, and the writing. This film follows the life and shenanigans of self-made millionaire Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) and the cohorts he hires. The story begins when he starts at a firm on Wall Street and gets some……unique advice from a senior broker (Matthew McConaughey)– including to do drugs and “relax” himself at least twice a day in the bathroom. But when that firm closes down, Belfort figures out an ingenious way to make money and make it quickly and opens his own firm with friend Donny (Jonah Hill) and others– none of whom passed their Series 7 exams or are legally allowed to be working there. The entire film follows Belfort, his business, his relationship with mistress-turned-wife (Margot Robbie), and the insane amount of drugs, alcohol, and prostitutes he spends his time and money on. This movie is a mix of Wall Street, Scarface, and Pulp Fiction and is pure movie genius. There are few performances as great as DiCaprio’s in this film– he completely vanishes and you only see Jordan Belfort. There have been many films that he has been nominated for and I have enjoyed his performances, but I must say that this performance blows every single other one out of the water. Such as, in one scene where Belfort and his wife, Naomi, are arguing and she is dumping water on him, I completely forgot that it was DiCaprio.
I cannot more highly recommend this film to people. It is expertly shot and directed and acted. It has some of the best monologues I have heard in years and seriously has some of the best humor I have experienced ever. I only warn that this is NOT by any means a family film– so do not take your child or young teenager or anyone who is not comfortable with nudity or drugs (if they cringed in Don Jon then do not take them to this ever). But if you want a well-written, well-acted, and a film that will be as quoted as Scarface, Good Fellows, The Godfather, or Wall Street, then definitely go.
All I can say is that with the success of this film, the book (it’s in the top 10 selling books on Amazon), and a possible reality show along the way, Jordan Belfort will be paying off his remaining $110 million to the US government much sooner than expected.
Final grade: 10/10
What do you think? Have you seen The Wolf of Wall Street? What do you think of the film?