Chronicling the life of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), Martin Scorsese’s new film is an instant classic for a variety of reason with entertainment being the primary. As I sat through this nearly 3 hours long epic I hardly felt a thing and by the time the end credits started rolling I realized that I had sat through an almost 3 hours long film without batting an eyelid. Such is the power of the screenplay. The life and times of Belfort does have its own share of drama and ecstasy which is so wonderfully brought out by every frame that Scorsese envisions that the film becomes engrossing within minutes of its beginning.
The film depicts the humble beginnings of Belfort on the Wall Street learning a trick or two from a lunch discussion with Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) which goes on to define his insatiable greed and desire for riches. There is a scene where Belfort is shown having dinner with his friends where he refers to every normal person having an urge to get rich. This statement gives us an insight into his psyche and also the desires which drives his actions. He soon starts off his own brokerage firm with a bunch of associates who are anything but brokers but wins unprecedented success by selling Penny stocks to not only the lower middle class but also to the elite.
The success gets to him as his infidelities, drug usage starts getting the better of him and he soon breaks away from his marriage and into the arms of Naomi (Margot Robbie) who he then marries. In all his endeavors, he aided by Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), the first person he employed as a broker in his firm and also who stays on till the very end. Soon Belfort comes up against conspiracy, money laundering and corruption charges which would eventually see the end of him. However by the time Belfort reached his end, he had already created the legend of The Wolf Of Wall Street.
There is just so much happening in the film that it is hard to put down a finger on what is best about it. The screenplay is presented in typical Scorsese style with the protagonist’s voiceover taking us through the happenings. After the breezy beginning, the film quickly shifts gears to top as Belfort goes on recruiting talents for his newly found company. Each of the characters is a story in themselves but none as colorful and obscene as Donnie. Imagine a guy who is so passed out in a party that he masturbates looking at blond smack in the middle of a party and you can envision Donnie. He may the most obnoxious guy around, marrying his own cousin and having two children out of her but that doesn’t stop him from standing out.
DiCaprio carries the film on his shoulders making way for the others to chip in effortlessly and yet makes a mark on almost every scene that he is a part of. The scenes where he has his initial discussions with Donnie, the scene after he gets married to Nomi and their subsequent tiffs, his scenes with Mark Hanna are just some of the many many entertaining scenes from this film. If there is another hero for the film, then it would surely be the Screenplay. I haven’t seen a more engrossing screenplay this year and that’s still not saying it all. A three hour long epic which feels like fifteen minutes short is how I would describe, The Wolf Of Wall Street.
Even though most of the film is shot indoors with just some of the scene of extravagance giving the audience a lusher and wide view, the film is extraordinarily well shot. Every trick of the trade, every expression of the characters and even the little nuances of the brokers carrying out their trade is captured in its vitality. The editing complements the cinematography and screenplay per say. Even though the film follows a linear story telling methodology, it really is well edited. There are two major speeches that Belfort makes and in both the prowess of the editing can be gauged with the editor being able to capture the expressions of the listeners and the speaker wonderfully well and depicting both out as a complete package of emotion.
The music doesn’t have much to do but does make an impression wherever necessary. Films about stock brokers tend to have more crackling of the keyboards and telephones than ear catching music and that’s exactly what you get in case of the Wolf Of Wall Street. This is a gangster film of the Scorsese type but with one little exception. The Gangsters here are replaced by the brokers who prove to be an even more cunning and greedy lot using telephones and pens and computers instead of guns but as effectively as a repeater with no blood shed but incessant cash flow.
The Wolf Of Wall Street is an extremely entertaining and absorbing film which is bound to get you hooked if you understand what it is about. This may not be a date movie or one for the action junkies, but for all those who are at least aware about the concept of money and its importance of being in your pockets, this could easily be the film of the year.