Tuesday, 21 January 2014

I'll Huff And Puff And Sell You Stocks

Despicably wild sex, Drugs and Money. Is your eye caught yet? Well this true story about stock brokers has all of the above. Really? Stock brokers? Yes. This is The Wolf Of Wall Street.

Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a young confident stock broker. Fresh to the floors of Wall Street, he is ready to make money. Briefly mentored by (Matthew McConaughey) before the company they work for goes under, leaving Belfort out of a job. However, the discovery of how much money can be made through penny stocks inspires him. Within no time, himself and his partner, Donnie (Jonah Hill), have more money than they know what to do with. Was it all legal? Well, as the trailer tells us, absolutely not. But with a several serious drug addictions, especially Quaaludes, an obsession with sex, a model wife, Naomi (Margot Robbie), and an FBI agent, Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) surrounding his daily life, who can help but caught up in a roller coaster of a rock and roll life style? It is time to beat your chest, hum, and make some money.

Belfort discusses phoney accounts with his partner. 

DiCaprio at his finest is a difficult expression to use, especially here, for two reasons. Firstly, when is DiCaprio not at his finest? He is one of the modern greats and has been since he first appeared on the silver screen, so it really goes without saying that he is 'at his finest'. Secondly, Belfort is such a disgusting person that 'fine' is never really a term that can be used to describe him, especially when he is drooling and slobbering from his drugs. However, it is DiCaprio's fantastic performance that perfectly balances Belfort's horrid nature with enough charm and charisma to make us sympathise with him. In someone else's hands, Belfort could easily have become a monster, which would have cleared a lot up for those who thought that the film glorifies Belfort's actions, but who wants to watch that film? The ensemble around DiCaprio, too, are excellently cast. Hill, as Donnie, uses the acting skills he showed in Moneyball and his famous drug-loving comedy persona in one character to hilarious effect, creating a truly loveable character, despite the law-breaking and things. Robbie, as Naomi, connects brilliantly with DiCaprio's Belfort but at no point does she become like the other women in the film - dependant on men and money. She is a loving mother as well as a (mostly) strong woman, fully in charge of her sexuality. (Helen O'Hara writes excellently about the women in the film for Empire Online.)

When you are rich, you can eat, literally, anything you want.

Scorsese has changed a lot over the years, but perhaps the last two years show the biggest jump. Hugo, the film for the children, to The Wolf Of Wall Street, the sex, drugs, and greed based adaptation of the memoirs of a multi-million dollar criminal. But what a jump it was. Scorsese's clever condemnation of all thing Belfort, and on grander scale, the whole of Wall Street, is a packed three hours that draws to light the problems of living life to the full and the corruption that greed can cause. Combined with Terence Winter's screenplay, we are let into a world that most of us will never experience. The world with too much money. But we are shown how it can destroy a soul as it did Belfort. This is never glorification of Belfort's lifestyle, but rather an experience of it. We simply tag along for the ride whilst Scorsese takes us on a trip, excuse the pun. With an incredible use of the soundtrack, which jumps between emphasising a scene and completely juxtaposing it, The Wolf of Wall Street oozes its gritty yet charming atmosphere out into the world and you cannot help but get sucked in with it.

The film is like the cocaine that Belfort snorts. It hypes you up and when the high it causes is over, you will be begging for more. One of the few films that runs around three hours that you would want to watch again straight after. The ensemble are magnificent and Scorsese is back on his best form. Not for those who dislike foul language. There are 506 uses of the varieties of 'fuck', as well as every other curse word under the sun

Best Bit? There are plenty of moments, but DiCaprio and Hill are revolutionary in a sequence that involves driving high and wrestling over the phone. It is one part hilarious, one part horrifying, but most of all, DiCaprio provides some of the finest physical acting in recent years. 

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