Big Screen :: The Wolf of Wall Street
February 13th 2014
The Wolf of Wall Street is centred around the true story of Jordan Belfort, a giant dickhead who made an unholy amount of money convincing idiots they could get rich by investing in worthless garbage and then charging them a commission on their transactions. Believe it or not, that was the legal part; he also laundered money, dodged tax and manipulated his own stock. Don’t worry, he didn’t use the money to do anything good or lasting, it was mostly spent on stupid amounts of drugs, crashing helicopters, and sinking luxury yachts. Although absent from the film, he also produced some Hulk Hogan films with his hard-earned dosh, including something called Santa with Muscles.
This guy was a special kind of asshole…
This is such a great film.
At three hours long it still somehow pulses with energy. It feels very much like a companion piece to Scorsese’s Goodfellas or Casino, drawing similar parallels between the mafia, gambling, and stockbroking. In fact, Jordan Belfort’s arc in this film closely matches Henry Hill in Goodfellas, right down to the tell-all book. The most glaring disparity is that The Wolf of Wall Street is absolutely hilarious, something you can’t often say about a Martin Scorsese film. There is an extended sequence that simply consists of DiCaprio trying to open one of those ridiculous doors on a Lamborghini while some rare and expired Quaaludes have temporarily robbed him of the use of his limbs. The scene is a slapstick masterpiece. This is by far DiCaprio’s best performance. He really goes for it. There is an excellent support cast too, with a nod to Australia’s own Margot Robbie (below) as Belforts second wife, a role which will hopefully transcend her Neighbours fame. By the way, Martin Scorsese is 71 and still making films this awesome. They should show this in bowls clubs and senior citizen halls to make other old people feel bad about themselves.
A bit of controversy has arisen from people unsure how to feel about Belfort’s character. He is a crook and a thief yet he is the protagonist in a big Hollywood film and is played by an incredibly charismatic actor. This must mean the film is glorifying him!
… This logic is completely ridiculous.
Conversely, the film is dripping with contempt for both Belfort and his offsider Donnie (whose highlights include jerking off in the middle of a crowded party and having three kids with his first cousin). How you could walk out of a film unsure of what to think about this guy is beyond me, convicted of massive financial fraud, using the proceeds to hire dwarfs to throw at targets and exotic hookers to stick lit candles up his butt.
The film closes on a shot of an audience, mirroring the one in the cinema, pointing to our complicity in not demanding proper punishment for these buttholes and for falling for their get rich schemes we are enabling guys like this. As punishment, Belfort played tennis for a few months in a rich person prison with Tommy Chong from Cheech and Chong (who got sent to jail for selling Bongs). He is still loaded, writing books and teaching people how to sell stuff. And he hasn’t properly paid back any of the people whose lives he destroyed. It’s enough to make you sick.
Anyway, I wandered away from my point, which is to go see The Wolf of Wall Street. It’s seriously great.