Friday 17 January 2014

Review: The Wolf Of Wall Street

World of Blackout Film Review

The Wolf Of Wall Street Poster

The Wolf Of Wall Street
Cert: 18 / 180 mins / Dir. Martin Scorsese
WoB Rating: 5/7

After all of the 'true story' cinema I've seen lately, I wasn't exactly enthusiastic about sitting down to watch a tale about stock-market fraud for three hours (especially when the above trailer gives you so little in terms of plot movement). But, when it comes down to it, I like what both DiCaprio and McConaughey are putting out these days, so what's to lose?

Anway; I liked it. The Wolf Of Wall Street is almost beautifully amoral, being told almost entirely from the viewpoint of Jordan Belfort, a Wall Street stockbroker who at least had the front to feel absolutely no remorse for his willfully illegal dealings. The film doesn't cast any moralistic judgement over Belfort's actions purely because he himself didn't; he wanted to get rich because it's better than being poor, and on the surface alone, there are few people in this day and age who would disagree. But because the film is told from Jordan's point-of-view, what we get is almost entirely surface. We don't get to see the fallout from his actions, other than the events which happen to him personally (and even the worst of those are skipped over quite glibly).

The film is rated 18 in the UK for the strong sex and drug scenes, and deservedly so, although it's definitely the casual and repeated use of the latter which has pushed it over that bar. Personally I don't think it glamourises drug use, per se*1, but it certainly doesn't demonise it either.

tWoWS*2 has the feeling of a character-piece, even though that central character is strictly (and necessarily) one-dimensional, and even though the narrative (while linear) does drive it to its inevitable conclusion. Clocking in at three hours, it does feel like 'a long film', but the constant escalation of ridiculousness means it doesn't drag or become repetitive; a bit like a financial Scarface. On a quieter note, the film features a parallel between Belfort and Denham, the FBI Agent who's investigating him, which I wanted to see more of, and I'm wondering how much (if any) of that comes from the book. Not that I have time to read the book.

For the record, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Margot Robbie, Jonah Hill, Jon Bernthal, and Joanna Lumley: All fantastic. And I suspect I was the only one who, upon seeing Ethan Suplee in Belfort's sales team, wanted to stand up and shout "Goddammit Randy, I get to have the moustache!"

Although you can't actively 'like' Jordan Belfort, and certainly can't approve of his behaviour and actions, you can't help but admire that he got away with it for so long, and came out the other side with a story to tell. Less of a cautionary tale, more of a cautious boast, The Wolf of Wall Street is far more compelling, and entertaining, than it probably has any right to be in 2014.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
It represents the craziness of the film, but not the narrative.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
Cinema would be good, but not essential.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?
At some point.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
Not that I heard.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
But it wasn't just me who squirmed at 'the flirting scene' in London, was it? Was it?

*1 Although the sequence with the Lamborghini and the country club is fucking funny, even though it really shouldn't be. Even though it is intended to be. Which just adds to it, really.
*2 I believe that's what all the cool kids are calling it. Certainly the kids in Yorkshire, anyway, and I they are cool. No, you fuck off, I wasn't being sarcastic. *rolls eyes*

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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