- Released Internationally on 25/12/13
- Released in Malta by KRS on 17/01/14
3-word review: Sex, drugs, stocks.
Scorsese is a genius at what he does, and subtlety is not it. In his latest sprawling character study, he brings to very vivid life the true story of disgraced Wall Street big-shot Jordan Belfort, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, making this their fifth excellent collaboration on screen.
Belfort rose quickly in the money-obsessed world of stock brokers, also thanks to some delicious early advice from his first boss (portrayed wonderfully in an all-too-brief performance by Matthew McConaughey). Enlisting a trusty side-kick (Jonah Hill, whose dramatic roles now start to eclipse his comedic ones), he sets up his own firm selling suspect stocks to hapless buyers, and getting super rich very quickly in the process. This all happened back in the early 90s, and as expected, a lavish lifestyle ensued. The cult following Belfort had amongst young stock brokers was not dampened, but rather fuelled by, his ridiculously over-the-top life and fame as a dubious trader. Scorsese and DiCaprio hold nothing back in stuffing the office antics, epic parties, endless drugs and countless women in our face, leaving very little to the imagination.
Ultimately, the film does serve as a cautionary tale, with justice and heartbreak catching up with Belfort and his team. But the ride is arguably entertaining enough, and some scenes are in equal parts amusing and disturbing. DiCaprio and Hill excel in the drug scenes, along with a few wonderful camera tricks and director touches. It’s so fast, loud and vivid that three hours fly by. The blood and gore so frequently seen in Scorsese’s films are absent this time around, but the drama and the depravity are clearly not. This is excellent filmmaking, but not for the faint of heart.