Movie Title: The Wolf of Wall Street
Date Released: December 25th, 2013
Date Seen: December 25th, 2013
Seen With: Michael
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
We follow Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio on his rise through the stock broking world. We see him get his first job, and be mentored by a cocaine addicted Mark Hanna (Matthew Mcconaughey). We then see how he has to start from the bottom, selling penny stocks after the stock market crash. Eventually he opens up his own firm with an interesting cast of characters, mostly old friends, and rises to the top. He doesn’t always take the most legal route on his venture to the top. This all eventually catches up to him when the FBI starts investigating him.
The acting in this movie is great – not surprisingly, when you look at the cast list. Leonardo DiCaprio does a pretty routine “I’m crazy – oh I’m not – now I’m staring off looking sexy thinking about what I’ve done – now I’m screaming and crazy again” act that we’ve seen him do before. But hey, he’s great at it so no complaints here. My surprising favorite was Jonah Hill as Donnie Azoff, Belfort’s “best friend”, if you can call it that. He still plays a bit of a goofball, but he’s a smart goofball for once and I really enjoyed it. His character was also quite possibly the most interesting, so that helped. The other people that left impressions on me were the extremely cocained out Mark Hanna, played by Matthew McConaughey. You could really tell he helped shaped Jordan Belfort’s model of how to run the company.
The filming and direction is great, which isn’t unexpected considering that the movie was directed by Martin Scorsese. It has a style where sometimes Belfort is talking directly to the audience, particularly in the first third of the movie that shows Belforts rise in the stock-broking world. It’s a nice mechanism that reminds you that this is from, for the most part, Belforts point of view. For this reason, some people that have seen the movie think the movie glamorized the life style that Belfort lives – that is, one of infidelity, rampant drug use, and the investment fraud. I don’t think we watched the same movie, if you think that way. We see Belfort go from someone who believes so much in this life style, to being investigated by the FBI, to having the entire world crash down on him, twice, and then having to build himself back up. There’s a scene (which I won’t spoil for you) where he takes it too far – and he realizes that he has done that. Yes, he doesn’t lie about being happy during the years where the was on drugs, sexing everyone, and making tons of money – but he doesn’t glamorize the repercussions at all. It’s not a “oh hey, look what I did and got a way with” movie. It’s a “here’s what I did, and yeah it was fun for a while, but man that sucked” kind of movie. I thought the fact that Belfort was literally talking to the camera the whole time was a clear indication of this. It’s like his own way of giving a warning to people.
My only real complaint with this movie was that it was SO long. The first two hours went by pretty quick, but I was done the last hour. I did not want to sit there anymore. Granted, I still think this was a good movie that you should watch – it’s just not one that I’d recommend sitting in the theater for unless you really want to see it. Three hours was a bit much. There were scenes they could have cut out or made shorter. For example, there’s about 10 different banging hooker scenes. OR there’s a midget tossing scene. OR random party in the office. I get it, the office was a crazy place, but I don’t need a 10 minute scene describing the midgets you’re going to hire, or what you’re going to do with them, or then another scene of enacting said midget tossing game. Seriously. It spent so much time on scenes like that, that the actual fall of Jordan Belfort went pretty fast – which is what I would have liked more of.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review/Synopsis
There’s a good synopsis here.
Martin Scorsese takes this story and puts it in film with a great cast, his great directing, and an overall pretty good movie. The major downside is that it runs about an hour too long.