The Wolf of Wall Street – a.k.a. Hedonism: The Movie

In my view, it takes a lot to justify any movie running over two hours.

Martin Scorsese’s new movie, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, is three hours long and, as much as I love both him and his lead (Leonardo DiCaprio), it was always going to be a hard sell to keep me from fidgeting. But, against all odds, he didn’t do a half-bad job.

The movie chronicles the epic journey of Jordan Belfort – the real-life stockbroker who went from rags to riches at the end of the last century – and, suffice to say, there is a hell of a lot of source material here. Belfort’s own biography was used as a blueprint and his story covers a good twenty years of dizzyingly debaucherous excess, from brain-melting drug use to hard-core sexual antics. As many people have pointed out, it’s a miracle he didn’t die.

There really is an undeniable thrill in seeing the top 0.01% live a life without rules, where there’s no such thing as ‘too extravagant’ and where anything goes. But, there’s only so much a normal audience can take and by the fifth orgy, it all starts to tire. But, then an inspired, and often cringe-worthily non-PC, sequence adds a bit of spice to the mix and keeps it all going for another twenty minutes or so. The most notable of these being a devastating high that had me laughing harder than I’ve laughed at anything in a long time . . . all while being totally in-your-face offensive.

But despite this sleaze, it’s undoubtedly a movie of class. For a septuagenarian, Martin Scorsese directs like a thrill-seeking teenager and he has the camera flying around to catch every last drop of hedonism. He also has a supreme knack for attracting talent. The cast, in particular, are absolutely stellar and the performances are incredible all round. Kudos, especially, to Jonah Hill who’s more than deserving of his ‘Best Actor in a Supporting Role’ nomination at the Oscar’s. He’s really starting to prove that he is far more than the gross-out comedy roles he played early on in his career.

In the end, however terrible a person Jordan Belfort is, this movie would have been nothing without him and, for that, I suppose we can be grateful?


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