Just like the enormous amount of drugs that Jordan Belfort indulges in, The Wolf of Wall Street gives you this glittering, glorious high but the after effects leave you drained and wasted. As you watch Belfort’s dizzying ascent transfixed, you expect the crash and burn to be as spectacular. Unfortunately that is not the case. Belfort’s rise is no less meteoric than Tony Montana (Scarface) and so one should not be blamed for expecting an operatic bloodbath (at least a symbolic one) at the end. What Belfort gets at the end of the movie is a little rap on his knuckles.
The ambiguous morality of the film is troubling. It glorifies Belfort’s excesses and seems to suggest that the people who lost money thanks to Belfort’s crooked schemes, were stupid and deserved to lose. Belfort is presented as a modern-day Robin Hood. This coming from Martin Scorsese, who is known for his deeply personal movies about sin, guilt and redemption, is puzzling and disappointing.
The movie is visually arresting and Leonardo DiCaprio is undoubtedly the sparkling centre of this wildly-spinning carousel. As Belfort, DiCaprio is riveting, tearing into the role with a savage ferocity of his titular namesake. Giving him solid support is Jonah Hill as Donny, Belfort’s partner in crime. Matthew McConaughey continues to dazzle losing his golden surfer dude self in the volatile Mark Hanna.
Incidentally, it has been a long time since I have heard so much profanity on screen. Based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort, the movie whizzes by its 179 minute running time. Only wish Scorsese’s return to the Mean Streets of his beloved New York had not been so shallow. Sigh.
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey
Director: Martin Scorsese
Plot: Some years in the life of Jordan Belfort
Bottomline: Addictive and shallow