Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley, Cristin Milloti, Christine Ebersole

Director: Martin Scorsese

Synopsis: Leonardo DiCaprio heart-wrenchingly portrays Jordan Belfort, an original penny stockbroker who moves his way up through the jungle of Wall Street by scamming investors with smooth propositions and a go-getter attitude. Belfort’s utmost confidence and false lines of assurance parallel his insane drug and sex addiction. This addiction aids in leading the multi-million dollar stock company he quickly builds and also makes itself known in his personal life; Belfort leaves his wife and eventually marries model Naomi Lapaglia (Margot Robbie) and soon thereafter, his drug-tainted and power hungry mind cause his personal and professional life to spiral out of control. Belfort is ultimately audited by the FBI, in which he refuses to turn himself—or any of his co-workers—in for the crimes they committed both domestically and internationally.

Reviewer’s Rating: 4.5/5 Reels


Throughout the entire three hour run-length of Wolf of Wall Street, my mind and senses were taken on a whirlwind ride of suspense, surprise, shock, and tonal sensation. Scorsese unapologetically and, at times, appallingly paints the portrait of a man amazingly obsessed with money and power. The title, Wolf of Wall Street, immediately becomes appropriate as DiCaprio channels the depths and emotions of someone plagued by the satisfaction of fleshly materialism. 

The acting within this film, by DiCaprio specifically, remains one of the most poignant and unforgettable performances I have ever seen. The immense and varied emotional highs/lows perfectly hit by DiCaprio is unsettling; one scene depicts him in a comical power-thriving business meeting followed by a scene of extreme drug overdose and hysteria. DiCaprio’s ability to portray a man so deeply embedded with emotional pain and worldly separation is a feat within itself. DiCaprio invites the audience into the world of Jordan Belfort, and invites them to not only witness both the tragic and victorious points in his career, but to also experience them with him. Each supporting actor (Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, etc.) also beautifully create successful performances and portals for the audience to view Belfort through. Through each of their performances, the audience gains the ability to draw full conclusions on Belfort’s actions, choices, and motivations. Each character is then perfectly embedded within the time period of a 1990s-New-Yorker.

The most significant and ground-breaking elements within this film remains the directing. Scorsese’s honest and true direction/portrayal of Belfort’s life remains unmatched by any film. Scorsese’s pacing, primarily, is incredible. The movie sprints forward in action and reactions, providing the audience with cut-throat events, dialogue, and climactic components. Throughout the film, Scorsese chooses to have Belfort break the fourth wall and talk directly to the audience; this perfectly matches the 90s infomercial content and absorbs the audience into the happenings of each character. What most films are afraid to do, Scorsese blasts through - unapologetically, whimsically, and wildly fast. Realistic scenes of drug use, sex, and ultimate self-obsession are blatantly revealed and almost shoved in the audience’s face. Appropriately, the consequences of said vices are also shamelessly plugged. Scorsese directs the film in a way that provides an unabashed and overt view into the full cycle of Belfort’s rise and fall within the stock market, his personal relationships, and ultimately his inner being. 

Within the directing and overall production, one of the most shocking and unexpected elements within the film were the abrupt mood and tonal changes. The Wolf of Wall Street demonstrated substance within the genre’s of comedy, romance, action, adventure, and crime - all within the span of 3 hours. Immediate tonal changes almost left me with a sense of confusion when determining what the film was truly trying to be. That’s when I realized it - Wolf was an amazingly complex and invigorating film because it was not trying to be anything. Scorsese, DiCaprio, and all of the other elements within it provided such a realistic and appropriate portrayal of Jordan Belfort that the tonal changes almost mimicked real life. This, remains Wolf of Wall Street’s most astonishing task.

Receiving a 4.5, this film remains a shockingly beautiful, exciting, enticing, and heart-breaking story. The realistic portrayals of drugs/sex/scandal (warning: the film is VERY crude and vulgar) causes me to drop it from a perfect 5. Yet, the mere rawness and emotional bewilderment so perfectly captured within this riot of a film has me perplexed - happily so - still today, weeks after viewing it. Overall, the acting, directing, plot-line, and delivery of every aspect of The Wolf of Wall Street remains superb.

By: Mariah Ortiz

{ 1 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Mariah, your review is excellently written. I have not seen this movie because I've been told the crudeness of it makes the movie not worth seeing, however after reading this review you have changed my mind! Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the best actors of our time in my opinion, all the movies that I have seen with him in them have been incredible, even going back to Man in the Iron Mask. Being able to see a beautiful film with incredible acting is an great experience, and from your portrayal of this movie it seems as if it is worth seeing!


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