WHEN I first saw the promo for this Martin Scorcesse directed film it looked eye-catching. There was an intrigue, an unknowing about it, and Matthew McConaughey thumping on his chest doing his weird humming song. I finally watched the 3 hours of it last tonight.
What did I think of it?
Well I’m conflicted. Leonardo Di Caprio is great and really carries this debauched era of economic greed and excess. But the rest of the cast don’t quite have a chance to really establish any presence due to the rapid cutting and direction. Jonah Hill is Belfort’s right hand man and is a solid acting presence but its tough to get into the characters other than the antihero. Belfort’s wife played by Margot Robbie holds her own in scenes but the scope of the film is vast and you just have to let it run its slightly unconventional (in a good way) course.
The real life Jordan Belfort who the film is based on must have been proud at the final edit and for some thats the major problem – that depicting drugs and sex as the side effects of success is inspiration to wannabe Gekko’s like Wall Street was for Belfort. However, that is to get away from the act of story telling. This movie is not a rule of living but showing how one mans crazed ego and desires can lead to utter chaos and unscrupulous practices with people or peoples money. Its a fascinating tale. But Scorcesse loses some of the impact by running it for 3 hours, that said its still the shortest 3 hour movie I’ve ever seen. If nothing else it’s an experience, but I can’t shake the feeling that beyond Di Capiro’s performance and some great cinematography you never get a feeling that Belfort has actually lost anything by the end even though he gets jailed wile losing his family.
See it at least once. And the mark of all good films I’ve seen is that they stick in the mind for some reason or another and as I edit this to publish it’s still there, a scene here a scene there worming around my brain.
Recommendation: Boiler Room, based on the same ‘pump and dump’ shares strategy and a precursor to Wolf on Wall Street, stars Ben Affleck in a credible role and is in some ways better than WOWS.