Martin Scorsese’s newest film, The Wolf of Wall Street, revolves around the unique topic of making money, and it’s surprising that the film itself hasn’t made more bucks at the box office.
In his latest flick, Scorsese (Goodfellas, Casino, The Departed) steps away from the shady realm of the mafia and into the place where much of the world’s money is made: Wall Street. The film seems like the sum of Goodfellas, Scarface, and Wall Street: a journey filled with money obsession, drug abuse, antifeminism, and record-breaking profanity.
The film follows Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), an ambitious New Yorker set on making it in the big leagues on Wall Street. Alongside him are his second-in-command at the stock firm, Donnie (Jonah Hill), and his second wife, Naomi (Margot Robbie).
The trailer features Belfort claiming that the year he turned 26 he made $49 million, “which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week”. Throughout the film, this ambitious attitude peaks, and we see countless prostitutes, drugs, and expensive jewellery, clothes, houses, and vehicles—not just cars, but leviathan yachts and helicopters, too. Call him materialistic or crazy and Belfort will curse at you and send you away, because that’s how he is: oblivious. But while Scorsese lets Belfort, otherwise known as the Wolf of Wall Street, howl his way through an extravagant life, the serious consequences of illegally attaining money, doing drugs, and cheating on his wife come out in the light of the full moon.
This almost-too-scary-to-be-true story is the perfect example of what not to do in life. At the end of the bum-numbing three-hour film, it’s clear that the age-old lessons about the dangers of drugs and greed are always relevant. Another obvious lesson conveyed here is being faithful to your significant other, as we see Jordan’s life fall apart after breaking up his humble first marriage.
DiCaprio’s fantastic depiction of a self-indulgent character is deserving of an Academy Award—he truly became Belfort in this film. The actor, who has been nominated for memorable roles in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator, and Blood Diamond, has always left the show empty-handed. But with award nominations already flowing in for this role, one can only hope that DiCaprio’s losing streak ends and that he walks away with gold statues.
The Wolf of Wall Street certainly isn’t a family movie, but it’s also not just for those who enjoy money and numbers. Its record-breaking use of the F-word (along with other offensive slurs) and three-hour runtime mean that The Wolf of Wall Street falls just short of being a perfect film. It demands a mature audience willing to step out of their comfort zones, and grants viewers a look into a materialistic life that many people fantasize about—until they get it. MMMM½