Propelled by manic energy, Martin Scorsese's The Wolf Of Wall Street zips through a dollar-fuelled bacchanalia and raunchy pool parties (there are so many pool parties) with train-wrecking velocity. It's as if the filmmakers and their cast are popping speed pills or knocking back a succession of Red Bulls. You watch the film with exhilaration and dread, a dread that the entire narrative accelerating, over the top and almost unstoppable is going to veer over the precipice and crash, leaving Leonardo DiCaprio smiling goofily in the rubble. But it's not; this is tightly controlled filmmaking in the guise of something running amok, and it's actually that sense of dread, risk and danger that fires us up and keeps us on edge. Scorsese is 72 and yet, hats off to him, this film feels like a young man plunging into an all-night orgy while managing to somehow stay sober amidst the threat of overkill.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Jonah Hill, Rob Reiner and Matthew McConaughey. Directed by Martin Scorsese.
A jolly satire, 180 minutes long, the film thrives on exaggeration and excess as it re-tells a story of exaggeration and excess, as practised chiefly by Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) and his Wall Street vampires. It shows how a young man turns his talent, appetites and calling in life into a species of megalomania; thus the carping by critics about the film glorifying Belfort's crimes without punishing him seems a tad off the mark, since Wolf in a sly tone-shift from Belfort's source memoir shows these people as a bunch of clowns, wealthy clowns, but clowns nevertheless, pathetically drunk on their own oversupply of cash and what cash can buy. Though sometimes it can play these roles, the aim of cinema should neither be to moralise (that's a job for Thai television) nor to punish; for that you'd be better off asking a priest or a prosecutor. Scorsese's movie uses cinematic devices to show the man in all his satirical splendour and capitalist folly. That depiction is sufficiently cruel a punishment.
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