Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley, Cristian Milioti, Christian Ebersole, Shea Whigham, Katarina Cas, P.J. Byrne, Kenneth Choi, Brian Sacca, Henry Zebrowski, Ethan Suplee, Barry Rothbart, Jake Hoffman, Madison McKinley, Spike Jonze, Bo Dietl.
It is a sad reflection of life that lessons it seems were not learned after Black Friday, the day that the Stock Exchange went into freefall, the great affair with money and gambling on a large scale and in which the house never, ever loses just corrected itself and let the whole merry-go-round start once again. There were losers as there was in 2008 when the whole institution of rampant capitalism one again folded quicker than a card player with a single pair of twos up against a whole table with flushes and full houses, the ones though who never seemed to suffer until the con got too big were the likes of Jordan Belfort and it this individual who is the subject of Martin Scorsese’s epic collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street.
The reason for the film’s brilliance not only lays in Leonardo’s DiCaprio’s performance as the drug addicted, money hooked and sex dependent stockbroker, perhaps giving his finest on-screen performance since The Aviator, nor does it lay in the absolute hedonistic display of film making by one of the masters of cinema in Martin Scorsese; the success of the film is the way it shows the brutality in which the vast majority of the population of the western world is dependent on high stakes gambling on an almost industrial scale. The way people are chewed up and thrown out over one phone call, the addiction of the so-called thrill and the lack of redemption available. For that alone, this is up there as one of the great Director’s finest moments and up there with Taxi Driver for a look at a world many of us thankfully don’t understand.
With a great star at the helm, one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s unbridled quality, a film, especially one of the length required, needs a great support cast and in the likes of Jonah Hill as Donnie Azoff, the fabulous Margot Robbie as Naomi Lapaglia, Matthew McConaughey as Mark Hanna, Rob Reiner as the gruff but loving father of Jordan Belfort and the gracious Joanna Lumley as Naomi’s aunt Emma, this is a cast in which everybody gives off the scent of dramatic brilliance. Jonah Hill especially is on top form as the right hand man of the head of the new firm on the block. The scenes in which the pair have a melt down after taking out of date drugs are amongst the most potent in a film filled with narcotic and sexual abuse.
The art of selling, the confidence in the con and the ability to talk anybody into making a purchase that in all honesty they don’t need is mirrored in the way that Jordan Belfort’s decline sees him being able to resurrect himself as a guru is terrifying and oddly compelling. For this Mr. DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese should be congratulated.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a piece of cinema that should be preserved for ever, even if shows just one person the fall that awaits those who abuse the power of responsibility of other’s money then it will be worth it. A great, great film!
Ian D. Hall