Leonardo DiCaprio leads entertaining and crazy ‘Wolf of Wall Street’

File Photo
File Photo

Jordan Belfort is an interesting man. From the outside looking in, he is a rockstar in the financial industry. But when we get a peek through the looking glass, we see nothing but a criminal who puts money before everything.

Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” follows this man from starting in the world of finance all the way through to building his own company and having to pay for the crimes he committed throughout the years.

The movie itself has received criticism for its gratuitous amount of nudity, drugs and its excessive use of the f-bomb (a record breaking 506 times). But despite this criticism, it’s important to step back and see whether the overall story is glorifying these actions, or speaking out against them.

Jordan Belfort starts off as a young and ambitious business enthusiast looking for a way to get rich and give his wife everything she deserves.

After getting some rather disturbing advice from his first employer (played by newly minted Academy Award nominee Matthew McConaughey), Belfort thinks he has it all figured out and takes the leap to starting his own stock exchange firm where he, his partner (played by now two-time Oscar nominee Jonah Hill) and a handful of other misfits take the world of money by storm and get into heaps of trouble along the way.

The movie is classified as a comedy, and it is filled with comical moments, but to label it as just a comedy isn’t doing it justice. It goes to some very dark places that made me uncomfortable as a viewer.

The first half is really just a good time. We see Jordan and his band of stock brokers make more money than they know what to do with and spend it all on prostitutes, drugs and anything they can get their hands on.

Life is a true party for these men, so much so that they even have a literal party with a marching band at the end of a workweek. But eventually, a switch goes off where people get hurt, the stakes get higher, and, as the viewer, we sit there disgusted by what we see and who these once-promising characters have become.

The movie is based on a true story about the real life of Jordan Belfort, and having known his story before going into the movie I anticipated the outcome. I won’t spoil the ending for those wanting to be surprised. But I can tell you this, every character gets what’s coming to them one way or another.

To say the performances are great would be an understatement. In a lot of ways, the performances make the movie. Everyone from the big roles of Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, to the smaller ones like Rob Reiner and Jean Dujardin, becomes an electrical force to be reckoned with. Leonardo Dicaprio has been one of my favorite actors for a very long time, and this goes down in my book as one of his best performances.

There are some crazy physical scenes in this movie that force the actors to do things they’ve never done before and it’s impressive to feel how alive everything is because of it. There’s an impressive scene involving a drugged up DiCaprio and Hill that’s so insane and cartoonish that I will never forget it.

While the movie is funny, it’s also filled with depth, well-fleshed-out characters and questions on greed, morality and ethics in the business world for you to discuss on the car ride home. It probably won’t walk away with any wins this Oscar season, but the nominations it received are well deserved.

This is definitely not a film for the faint of heart. Even though the actions being portrayed on screen aren’t being glorified to its full potential, there are still plenty of raunchy and immoral things happening on screen to make one question why they paid for, and gave up their time, to be a part of the audience.

If I told you how crazy it gets, you probably wouldn’t believe me, so I’ll just leave it as a surprise in case you do decide to check it out.

This three-hour journey is a long one, that much is true. However, if you give it a chance, you are likely to find it entertaining, as well as a well-thought-out cautionary tale about what kind of path the lifestyle of greed leads us down.

 

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