“Let me tell you something. There’s no nobility in poverty. I’ve been a poor man, and I’ve been a rich man. And I choose rich every fucking time.”
Adapted from Jordan Belford’s own memoir of the same name by Terence Winters, and 522-fuck-yous later we had Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Controversial, morally ambiguous, twisted, shameless, extremely lengthy, bacchanalian tale of the greed of the riches and never-ending monetery lust. Read the book (i did), and you see how spot on the spirit of it is translated to each of the 180 minute running time on-screen. And going from one financial ruin of the roaring 20s earlier this year, to the wall street economic collapse, this is Leonardo DiCaprio greatest shinning moment.
EARN. SPEND. PARTY. Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) was a regular white male from humble background, mid-class family, with a lovely wife, trying to achieve the so-called American Dream, trying to make millions out as a stockbroker on Wall Street. Only to find his dream crash and burn before it even begun. Trying his luck in the penny stock instead, Belfort manage to gain the small profits and shows his talent of persuasion. He recruits some of his old friends as well as a stranger-turn-best-friend Donnie Azzoff (Jonah Hill) and start aiming for an even bigger game. Hitting wall street riches and start earning his millions. Now he drives a white Ferrari, have a new, ex-model wife, Naomi (Margot Robbie), bought her a yacht, and have private helicopter lessons, and house at the Hampton. No, not everything he did is legal. Soon enough the FBI sniff some off his rotten trail. Agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) determined to drag out everyone’s involved in a large securities fraud cases and corruption on Wall Street. his A New York stockbroker refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street. Trying to cover his dirt and hide his riches with a smuggling attempt involving a Swedish banker (Jean Dujardin), a bad case of expired drugs, and other shameless miscalculation. This is the life of one Jordan Belfort.
Before the wide-release, the film already garnered bad press and negative reactions from a lot of people. Be it the victims of fraud and stock market scams or reactions towards the glorifying of drugs and sex as portrayed in the film. Which is unfair in my opinion. If anything this is a blunt and honest portrayal of the life of Jordan Belfort. The Wolf of Wall Street is one unapologetic yet appalling part cautionary tale, part character study. Yes it is embellished by booze, sex, money, morphines and other drugs, but it fits Belfort who “partied like a rock star, lived like a king”. In the short background story of Belfort we saw him being guided by one Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) who become his mentor and shaped the vision of young and impressionable Belfort and teaches him his craft. I think Hanna role in Belfort life might be brief yet consequential to what Belfort is becoming. Belfort whose original intent was to make a living for his wife was lured by the taste of greed later give in to the temptation, starting to have this bottomless gluttony for monetary gains.
Scorsese’s first non-3D digital film definitely loud and deliciously delirious paced and the longest flick yet (clocking at 179 minute). Fast and never boring, sometimes frenzied but tactfully and fittingly so for the purpose of the film. I feel that Thelma Schoonmaker, Scorsese’s long time collaborator, was snubbed for her editing work in the film. I love how she put together the sequences of the intoxicated characters, much credits to the d.o.p Rodrigo Prieto ability to convey the pace of the story through his lenses. I heard that she cut the film down from 4 hours, but you know what given the kind of output i’m seeing on screen i’m game for 5 to 6 hours of this work, just give me enough toilet breaks and i’d be fine. Filled with sharp narration, witty monologues, whip-smart dialogue, as well as that touch of breaking the 4th wall half that’s in-keeping with the film’s pace. Now, for me the music of the film is adds the experience for the film, mixes of the old and the gold, elevate the dizzying and euphoric pictures to a new high.
The cast is simply amazing. Leonardo DiCaprio fierce performance in his 5th collaboration with Scorsese. Portraying the alpha-male persona with a swagger of overgrown frat boys. we saw him revel in his spoils before desperately clinging to his glory. Despicable protagonist that we love to hate yet we enjoy and somehow sympathize enough (yet not really felt sorry) when he fallen from his grace, when he went from filthy rich to slightly less filthy rich. Not only the role got him his Best Actor for Comedy and Musical in the Golden Globe it also guarantees his nomination for Best Actor for the Academy Awards, definitely deserve the acknowledgement even though he probably lost it to Matthew McConaughey. Jonah Hill, got his well deserved 2nd Oscar nomination in the same category (Best Supporting Actor), and frankly one of the most deserving in the category. Playing Belfort’s frat bros appears even more lacking of conscience and displaying a weird sense of loyalty and camaraderie between crooks. Newcomer Margot Robbie (previously seen in About Time) is pitch perfect as the young temptress, turns wife of the wicked. McConaughey who appeared very briefly yet quite unforgettable as Belfort’s mentor Mark Hanna, showcasing the magnitude of the strength of his presence as an actor. Jean Dujardin is refreshing in his short screen time as the pompous Swiss banker, his dialogue (improvised or otherwise) with DiCaprio is one of the most delicious scene in the film! PS: There are three working directors featured as an actor in the film: Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, and Spike Jonze (delivering “If you sell $10,000 worth of stock, I’ll give you a blowjob for free, and I hope it happens.” flawlessly).
As pleasantly excessive as its subject, The Wolf of Wall Street is a load of fun. Now part of AFI best film of 2013, getting acknowledge and winning for various awards and accolades including for Best Directing for Scorsese, Best Actor for DiCaprio, Best Supporting Actor for Hill, Best Adapted Screenplay for Terence Winter, and Best Picture. I personally enjoy every minute of this film for its hugely entertaining and unexpectedly intriguing biopic. It was a wholesome experience for me… like an entire Leo DiCaprio filmography merge into one! Ha!
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013)
GENRE Drama, Comedy, Biopic
DIRECTOR Martin Scorsese | PRODUCER Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland | WRITER Terence Winter | CINEMATOGRAPHER Rodrigo Prieto | EDITOR Thelma Schoonmaker | STUDIO Red Granite Pictures, Appian Way Productions, Sikelia Productions, Emjag Productions | DISTRIBUTOR Paramunt Pictures | COUNTRY United States | RUNNING TIME 179 minutes | BUDGET $100 Million | RATING R for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence | RELEASE December 25, 2013
STARRING Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Jean Dujardin, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Joanna Lumley, Cristin Miloti, Spike Jonze
DID YOU KNOW? Real-life Jordan Belfort appears in a brief role in the film’s final scene, introducing his cinema stand-in Leonardo DiCaprio. As accurately portrayed, Belfort is now a motivational speaker who previously served 22 months in federal prison for stock fraud. Jordan Belfort coached DiCaprio on his behavior, especially instructing him in the various ways he had reacted to the Quaaludes he abused as well as his drugged confrontation with Danny Porush.
PS: Here’s why the dance number that made this film qualified as a musical (aside from McConaughey chest-bumpining/humming thingy)