So a new Martin Scorsese film is always something to look forwards too and from the trailers there appears to be a similar thread to his classic Goodfellas – i.e. a tale about those who work outside the law and the glamour this entails but is it anywhere near as good as Goodfellas?
Leonardo Di Caprio plays Jordan Belfort who begins working in Wall Street where he meets Mark Hanna (brilliant cameo from Matthew McConaughy) who recognises there is no better drug than money, Jordan begins to work his way up the ladder in Wall Street until the 1987 crash sees the business collapse taking his job, in the aftermath Jordan finds a job in Long Island, successfully begins to make money from selling up small stocks. It is here he meets Donnie (Jonah Hill) and they start-up their own company eventually calling it Stratton Oakmont to give it a history and credence to entice the richest 1%. The business escalates and Jordan and his colleagues become very rich indeed. This attracts the attention of the FBI.
Meanwhile Jordan meets Naomi and begins an affair with her after he takes her home one day where she seduces him by stripping naked, His wife finds out and they divorce, allowing Jordan and Naomi to get married. Their life of excess takes a further step when he gifts her a super yacht. This only increases the FBIs interest. Jordan responds to this by looking at ways of hiding the money that he is beginning to obtain illegally.
Throughout this DiCaprio narrates the story which moves from one scene of excess to another. From dwarf tossing, rampant drug use and countless prostitutes used by Jordan and his colleagues. There is one scene where having taken some dodgy pills Jordan has to drive his Lamborghini home which he manages quite successfully and amusingly that really seems to sum up the excess of his life. However as things start to go wrong for Jordan, DiCaprio is equally comfortable with delivering. It is certainly one of his better performances even if his character is so unlikable!
The supporting cast also perform well, that is the male cast. Jonah Hill is very good value as Donnie and there are some great cameos from the likes of McConaughy, Spike Jones and Rob Reiner. And the soundtrack (as you would expect from Scorsese) is brilliant.
However the film disappoints in 2 areas and, ultimately, mean this is no match for Goodfellas in quality.
Firstly the sexual politics are questionable indeed, this may have represented Jordan’s life but women are not there to provide insight, savvy or business intelligence. They are they for gratification only.
Secondly, whilst this is nominated in many categories for awards, its Editing won’t be. It runs at 3 hours in length and in all honesty it is far too long. A 45 minute cut would have made this a classic. Scorsese has made long great films, the afore mentioned Goodfellas, Raging Bull and Casino but he also made Gangs of New York and that suffered from its length. A shorter Wolf of Wall Street could have sat amongst his very best films and simply because it is Scorsese and his standards are not met on this occasion, I have to say I was left both frustrated and a little bored in the end.