The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

“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.”

There is very little that can prepare you for Scorsese’s new film, detailing the true story of infectious, and normally intoxicated, stockbroker Jordan Belfort. Even with the gossip circus that has surrounded its release, it is difficult to imagine the mix of drama, meta-fiction and almost slapstick comedy that the next three hours has in store.

But don’t expect the plot to rise and dip like the stocks on sale, as its roots in real life inevitably anchor the movie’s ability to twist and turn the way we like, leaving the story following the often-tread path from success to corruption. Despite this however, watching  the fantastic Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill light up the screen with their passion and natural humour, is without doubt one of the moments of the last year.

The Wolf may not have the narrative weight and political interrogation of the more prestigious Scorsese movies, but I have the feeling it will delight and amaze with its magnetic charm for many years to come. The comfort through which a film of this length can be watched, is testament to both the fantastic acting and intelligently scripted scenes that hit the viewer time after time. Although some may justifiably feel they have partaken in a testosterone-driven sex-fest, there is so much more to this Oscar nominated picture. Each scene unravels in a slightly different way, making them as ridiculously unpredictable as the stocks they are all trying to stuff down their clients’ throats.

All of this circumscribes a character whose relentless need to push the boundaries leaves him crossing every line possible.  His ambition and greed is reflected in every aspect of his life, from drugs and women, to business and money. This combined strength and weakness to consume, inevitably affects and ultimately hurts those around him. But even the viewer cannot avoid getting a taste for the reverence and idolisation that is the result of Belfort’s relentless enthusiasm and wit.

Unfortunately, there is a slight feeling of unoriginality in not just the over-arching narrative, but in several of the scenes styles as well. Scorsese even creates an Apatow-shaped hole for Jonah Hill’s Donnie Azoff to thrive in, with scenes of such hilarity and mischief you often find yourself looking around and forgetting where you are. The self-narrative and comedic drug taking will also smell of Fear and Loathing. But in the end, the crazy moshpit of drugs, sex and relentless laughs works so well, you will be hankering for a second viewing soon after the credits roll.

Shapstik verdict: The consistently fantastic connection that Scorsese and DiCaprio have together, has hit a different but equally striking vein. During its best moments, the intoxicating  and witty dialogue becomes almost as addictive as Jordan’s drug habit, leaving most viewers glued to their seat with a huge grin on their face. Time will tell however, whether its lack of twists, a decent ending and deeper insight, leaves it short of real prestige. 8/10


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