Film Review: Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ is Cinematic Adrenalin

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Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) lives completely, entirely in the moment. It’s not that there’s no tomorrow, there’s not even “later that same day” in his world. People who make their living on the minute-to-minute fluctuations of the stock market are inherently going to be inclined to live in the small spaces between those quick deviations but Belfort was even more so given the fact that his first day as a legit money maker was on the day the entire economy collapsed in 1987 known as “Black Monday.” There was no tomorrow that day and there would be no tomorrow from then on out as Belfort climbed back up the ladder of success, leaving hookers, drugs, and broke clients in his wake. Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter’s film about Belfort’s deviant rise to fame pumps with the adrenalized energy of its subject matter, alternating between its incredible screenwriter’s way with words and its filmmaker’s ability to tap into cultural issues like no one else. 2013 was a year of “Look at my shit” cinema like “Spring Breakers,” “Pain & Gain,” “The Bling Ring,” and more, but it took till Christmas Day to get the gaudiest, biggest cinematic gift in this fascinating subgenre. Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

“The Wolf of Wall Street” opens with a relatively naïve and wide-eyed Jordan learning the ropes from a foul-mouthed, power broker played with steel-eyed intensity in a cameo by Matthew McConaughey. What does Jordan learn? Cocaine is to Wall Street as caffeine is to most of the working world. You get your coffee break, stock brokers take a bump. And he learns that it’s not what the client needs that matters but what the broker needs. The stock broker in this world is more of a con man, talking clients into stocks they know won’t do them any good, selling them more than they should, and reaping the commissions.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The Wolf of Wall Street” in our reviews section.

Belfort probably would have been a successful broker no matter what but it actually helped him when the market collapsed because he was forced to go out on his own. After a stint at a dinky brokerage run out of a garage where he learns the high commission rate on penny stocks, Belfort opens his own company and begins his meteoric ascendancy to the kind of money that most of us only imagine. When he tells Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) at a diner that he made $72k last month, Donnie quits his job to work for Jordan. Of course, the two get high to celebrate. Jordan dumps his wife for the gorgeous Naomi (Margot Robbie), buys yachts, throws parties, screws hookers, does more drugs than most rock stars, and intimidates anyone who gets in his way, even the federal government officials who have started to notice that his money comes from illegal means.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “The Wolf of Wall Street” review.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Cristin Milioti, Jon Bernthal, Rob Reiner, Shea Wigham, Kyle Chandler, and Matthew McConaughey. It was written by Terence Winter and directed by Martin Scorsese. It opens on Christmas Day and is rated R.

The Wolf of Wall Street
The Wolf of Wall Street
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

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