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High energy and wonderfully excessive as it delivers an engaging true story, but the lack of morality anywhere was a limiting factor
bob the moo17 January 2014
This film arrived in the UK with awards and Oscar nominations all around it, adding an expectation which it really didn't need adding since even without any of that it is ultimately a Scorsese film with a big name cast. It also arrives with some other stuff because the film has been criticized for near glamorization of the excesses that Belfort was able to experience with his ill-gotten funds and, to be honest, it is an impression that isn't helped when you consider that this film was put forward to the Golden Globes in the Musical/Comedy section. Now I am sure that was a political move by the studio, but it does say something about the film because indeed for most of it we have stuff so unbelievable and so excessive that it is hard not to laugh at it. It is hard not to enjoy it.

And this is a problem, because the first 2 hours and a bit of this film is really engaging and enchanting in how much of a rush it gives you, how enticing it is and just how much vibrant energy it all has. The viewer is swept along and I guess to a point this is the film doing its job well because not only are we being told a story but we are first hand seeing how easy it is to get caught up in the grab for success, for money, for status. In this regard the film works really well because throughout the film I really was glad to be part of it and wanted it for myself; I don't think the film goes out of its way to glamorize this excess and this life, but for sure it doesn't do much to balance it – and this really is my problem with the film.

The structure, subjects and delivery of this film is so inherently similar to Goodfellas that it is hard not to mention it. If you remember the opening of Goodfellas you'll remember that it opens with a memorably violent scene where an near-dead man in the back of a car is stabbed by Hill and his colleagues in a scene that is oppressive and violent but yet ends with the narration telling us "as far back as I can remember I wanted to be a gangster" and snaps to credits under a big track from Tony Bennett. This scene is important because it works as a microcosm of the whole film – the appeal but also the cost, all in one place. Wolf of Wall Street never has any of that and it hurts it. I suspect the message of the film is that our financial systems are screwed and that ultimately the rich will never be in the same world as the average person, because this is what I took from the rather sobering final scenes. However if this is the point it is trying to make then it really hurts itself with the rest of the film seeming to say "so why not get on board". I know this is not the case but the lack of a "point" or an agenda it the film means that it naturally fills it with its own, which is a weird feeling.

But then again – I guess it is a comedy. So the infamous Quaalude scene is not horrific but rather hilarious, the scenes of excess and of criminality are not equally appealing and repulsive – they are almost totally appealing, we hardly get the other side or get to see a victim here, and a few seconds on the subway with the FBI agent really does nothing but yet again make the suggestion that "it's all broken so why not at least get rich yourself". Getting away from this, it is a well made film. Scorsese makes this award season's second film to owe a massive debt to Goodfellas (American Hustle being the other) and he directs the film with energy; music is used well as one would expect and the editing makes the film pop. DiCaprio is great in the lead – OK he doesn't find the heart of the character, but the film doesn't ask him to. Instead he is charismatic and energetic, drawing the viewer in and giving the film its energy. The supporting cast is deep with names and familiar faces and it is a statement about how well the film holds the viewer, because it isn't distracting no matter how many famous faces or supporting character from TV appear (although I did notice that this and American Hustle had lots of faces from HBO's Boardwalk Empire). Jonah Hill is over the top in a way that works, although I am surprised to see him getting an Oscar nomination for it in such a crowded year.

Wolf of Wall Street has had a lot of praise and this will continue as the Oscars approach and are awarded. Personally I enjoyed the film as a funny true story delivered with energy and excess but in many ways it is not Goodfellas and the most important of these is that the film lacks a moral core to itself, to its characters and to its message. I don't mind the "it's all screwed so who cares" message that it ultimately seems to give, but I didn't feel comfortable with how wide a smile it had on its face while it was delivering it.
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Oscar worthy
karolin-9926329 December 2020
The movie Leonardo DiCaprio should have gotten an Oscar for. His portrayal of the character is perfect. The movie is well-written, leaving no details out of the original story. Martin Scorsese never fails to impress. One of the only example where the movie is better than the book. The movie never gets boring, I could watch this anytime.
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It really is a comedy
kosmasp18 June 2014
There is a reason this is called Wolf of Wall Street and not Lion of Wall Street. This is not supposed to be a story about some good guy or misunderstood guy doing things that are a little off. And therefor it was important to make this a comedy. When I watched it, I didn't think it would qualify as comedy. Thought of it more of a drama with some comedic moments thrown in.

The way it starts should indicate if this is something you want to watch. Never forget, as someone else also stated, this is supposed to be entertainment and does not take itself seriously. If you are not on that level with the movie, you will call it names. And that is OK, because obviously the movie is out there and it will not be everyones taste. That's why you have to decide early on, if you actually want to watch it or not.

If you don't feel like it, don't watch it. Save yourself some time and watch something else that interests you instead. If it hits a nerve with you though, you will revel in it. Especially in the performance Leonardo Di Caprio is giving. There is a scene involving him driving "carefully", that has to be seen to be believed ...
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The best movie of 2013
diegocoda22 September 2021
The movie is just the best, the acting is great and even I say that it was Oscar-worthy and the plot is simply one of the best ones; the message that it brings to you that money brings power and it is not always for the best because in this movie we see the downfall of a man that will learn that actually in life the money can be a drug and will simply make you cause damage to yourself.
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"Money is the oxygen of capitalism and I wanna breathe more than any other human being alive."
notoriousCASK24 October 2018
It's no surprise that Scorsese is associated with the gangster genre with films such as The Departed, Goodfellas and Casino, of which the last two are possibly the best pure examples of the genre. In Goodfellas the gangsters are dangerous but they operate on a more underground level, in Casino they practically run a major city and can do whatever they like. The gangsters were and will always be a part in America's system. Now, the gangsters are not just accepted by the system, but are considered to be an integral part of it. In the first two films, the gangster is threatening and dangerous, but avoidable. In The Wolf of Wall Street, he's calling to hustle you at home and you don't even know it. Some people view The Wolf of Wall Street as a glorification of Jordan Belfort's lifestyle and want to be like him, as Scorsese portrays this life by its nature, enticing. That's the way it works, and it's impossible to portray it accurately without showing how a charismatic man like Belfort can suck an unsuspecting person into a world of money and fame. The film though, shows us just how empty and destructive that life can be.

There is an undeniable similarity between the instantaneous joy, energy and euphoria that we have while watching The Wolf of Wall Street and how Jordan Belfort lives his life, this is a movie where the director skillfully mixes form and content to create an experience which is as hyper and as instantly ecstatic as the life of its flashy and opportunistic characters.

The direction by Martin Scorsese which still has infectious energy and power is impeccable, there is no other director who has mastered pacing like he has. This is a three-hour movie that moves lightning fast and always manages to keep the audience invested in the story throughout the whole duration. Each scene is packed with so much visual information, and it is fast paced and quickly edited, which complements the general tone of the film. The cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto is gorgeous as well and displays an optimal color palette throughout the whole film. Each shot also looks precise, even during some of the more chaotic scenes.

The script is fantastic, filled with many great and memorable lines of dialogue. Every character has a well-defined arc and motives, and the story is given proper breathing room to blossom. The performances are also exquisite, especially Leonardo DiCaprio who gives one of the best performances of his career and portrays the opportunistic nature of Jordan Belfort's character with great commitment as you can see a lustful, hedonistic and impulsive sex & drug-addict man who only wants to have more fun. Supporting him with equal passion is Jonah Hill as Donnie Azoff, Belfort's sidekick, and even he manages to make a mark of his own. Margot Robbie plays Naomi, Belfort's second wife and she does an alluring job in her given role. Matthew McConaughey is in for a very short duration as Mark Hanna, Belfort's mentor, but even in that little time, he is the show-stealer and he dominates the screen unlike anyone else.

Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter set out to create a film about the Wall Street excess, and by definition, it contains an excessive amount of everything, such as cursing, sex, nudity, drugs, alcohol and partying. But the film is not really about those things. The story of The Wolf of Wall Street boils down to money, that "most-addictive drug" Belfort speaks of, and not just what it can buy, but what it can do to people. Not just how it changes one's lifestyle but the effects it has on one's morals, beliefs, and values, and how it can effectively change not just how a person thinks and feels but how they operate at their core.

With a collection of truly incredible films, The Wolf of Wall Street stands out as one of Scorsese's best films, my personal favorite and by far his most humorous film to date. He truly went all out and it paid off in a hilarious satire on the reverence of money, drugs, women, and the admiration of a criminal money-maker. The Wolf of Wall Street is maddening cinema that's already high on coke but still continues to snort more white powder every 5 minutes for 3 hours. This is a fascinating vignette of excess, greed, abuse and decay and it's one of the best movies of the decade and surely one of the most entertaining movies ever made.
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The Wolf of Wall Street is Leonardo DiCaprio's Crowning Work
ClaytonDavis17 December 2013
Martin Scorsese has done it again. His newest and most refreshing effort he's contributed to the world of cinema in years, The Wolf of Wall Street is a roaring thrill ride that is both absolutely hilarious and meticulously constructed. It also presents Academy Award nominee Leonardo DiCaprio in possibly his finest acting performance of his career. At one-minute shy of three hours, I was both engaged and hypnotized nearly the entire duration. A comedic epic that studies the behavior and cultures of a time in America, feels like the uncovering of a time capsule that was buried and dug up to give insight into our current financial crisis. Much more than just laughs, it turns on the dramatic elements early enough in the film to warrant considerable reactions about the choices of our key characters. Expertly paced with intelligent moral questions presented, The Wolf of Wall Street is one of the best films of the year.

Telling the story of Jordan Belfort, a young Wall Street broker that gets involved in drugs, money, and even more drugs during the 80's and 90's. In his tenure trading (and stealing), Jordan marries, divorces, does drugs, marries again, does even more drugs, makes solid friendships, and believe it or not, does a lot more drugs. Watching the destruction of Jordan acted as a documentarian's insight that felt like I was watching "Intervention" without the family that cares. The Wolf of Wall Street is a black comedy, giving hints of drama. Natural comparisons will fly to Oliver Stone's Wall Street which is accurate but you can see subtle hints of films like Trading Places, Glengarry Glen Ross, and even American Psycho. That's a testament to Scorsese's outstanding direction and Terence Winter's masterful screenplay. Scorsese keeps Wolf life-size, sprinkled with characters that are both geniuses and morons, but functioning morons. They're like the frat pack group that sat in a corner on my college campus, being loud and obnoxious, and made terrible life choices that they still aren't aware of until this day. Scorsese puts together an all-star cast to inhabit these beings that includes DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Bernathal, and Kyle Chandler. All of which seem to be having the time of their lives.

A lot of the credit of the film's overall success has to be awarded to Leonardo DiCaprio. I've never seen him truly "go for it" in a way that he exhibits as Jordan Belfort. In his breaking of the fourth wall, to his long but completely engaging monologues about life, money, and greed, it's the most assured and compelling work by the actor to date. When DiCaprio unleashed his talents in the mid-90's in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? and later stole the hearts of tween girls everywhere in Titanic, who knew this is the role he'd been gearing up to play. This is the role of his career and something that the Academy Awards should look to for his long overdue recognition. It's a charming and adventurous turn that presents a conundrum to the audience as we find ourselves both enamored and loathing the pure essence of Jordan. A sequence of DiCaprio crawling on the floor will probably be the scene of the year. This is DiCaprio's crowning achievement.

As the magnetic and cheesy-minded right-hand man, Jonah Hill's performance as Donnie Azoff is another great turn for the 30-year-old actor. He's allowed to explore some of his comedic ticks and beats that he may not have ever had the opportunity to explore in films like Superbad or 21 Jump Street. In Wolf, he relies on his own instincts, and his chemistry with DiCaprio, which has helped him before for his Oscar-nominated work in Moneyball opposite Brad Pitt. Matthew McConaughey, is one scene shy of winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. While his work in Dallas Buyers Club will bring him the acclaim and recognition that he deserves, The Wolf of Wall Street is a prime example of what he should be doing when he's not working or seeking out the strong, independent features that are geared for awards recognition. Stealing every frame and focus from DiCaprio in his ten minute screen time, McConaughey utilizes all his charm and spunk as Mark Hanna, the mentor to young Jordan as he started out.

Like any great Scorsese film, the women are in full-force and given the opportunity to shine like the others. Cristin Millotti, a toned down and tragic version of Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny, is sensational in her brief appearances on screen. Beautiful and sympathetic, she offers much needed serious and dramatic elements to Jordan's outrageous antics. In the end, a star is born in the gorgeous and vivacious Margot Robbie as Naomi Lapaglia, Jordan's second wife. Whoever was going to be cast as Naomi, had to be an actress of considerable talent and had the ability to really be the sexy kitten but still warrant an emotional reaction from the audience when called upon. Margot Robbie was the perfect choice and she'll need to owe Scorsese royalties for years to come with the roles she'll be offered following this. Robbie is pure magic and is everything she's required to be. She's the more elusive, compelling, and more thought out version of Scarlett Johansson's character in Don Jon.

I loved every second of The Wolf of Wall Street. Terence Winter's script is a natural and well-oiled machine that produces the words of a demigod. You couldn't make these things up. Thelma Schoonmaker is the utmost professional and continues to shine film after film. You won't find another dedicated and glossed editing work this year. The other supporting actors do sensational work especially Kyle Chandler, who has a very well-constructed exchange on a boat with DiCaprio, has us asking more and more, why is this guy not helming his own films on a consistent basis yet?
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Reserved for the male of the species
bkoganbing11 April 2014
The Wolf Of Wall Street details the rise and fall in real life of one Jordan Belfort who for a while was living high and wide off of other people's money. It was good while it lasted until some relentless FBI agents took him down partly because of his own hubris.

Leonardo DiCaprio as he did with such other real life figures like Howard Hughes and J. Edgar Hoover, each of who lived large in his own way with power, DiCaprio lives large with money. At first it's the realization of the American dream, DiCaprio the middle class kid wants to go on Wall Street. He goes, but then is one of thousands cast adrift by the stock market crash of the late Reagan years. DiCaprio is not about to give up his dream.

He organizes his own brokerage house, similar to what is seen in the more modestly financed film The Boiler Room. But DiCaprio takes it far from a penny stock outfit. With a collection of his own ill assorted bunch of friends chief among them is Jonah Hill, these guys and I do mean it is reserved for the male of the species DiCaprio makes obscene amounts of money and spends it obscenely. That is sure to attract all kinds of law enforcement attention.

I have seen very few films that have depicted the alpha male world so well. Women just do not compete in DiCaprio's world. All they serve as are sex objects. Women work on Wall Street in the more traditional brokerage houses, but not with him where being one of the boys is the first requirement. The world consists of 50% orgies and 50% piling up paper profits and later on hiding them from authorities. True of DiCaprio and true to a lesser extent of all his associates.

Martin Scorsese directed this film and handled the film like he did one of his gangster epics like Goodfellas. The narration of the film is by DiCaprio and it takes you from his rise to where law enforcement has him between a rock and a hard place. Like Ray Liotta in Goodfellas a combination of drugs and hubris makes him think he's invulnerable. But in Goodfellas would not have had a scene where the wise guys just out and out dared to challenge the FBI as DiCaprio does with agent Kyle Chandler. It so reminded me of that famous incident from 1984 where presidential candidate Gary Hart dares reporters to follow him around to catch him doing anything outside his marriage. And of course they did.

Five Oscar nominations went to The Wolf Of Wall Street, nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and nominations for DiCaprio and Jonah Hill as Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Hill was something of a revelation. The kind of nondescript character that you wouldn't look at twice, Hill gets taken to a world that he could only imagine in dreams wet or dry by DiCaprio. In his own Hill is almost as fascinating a story as DiCaprio.

The guy who beat Leo out for Best Actor has a brief but telling role as a mentor of sorts. Matthew McConaughey plays a stockbroker who takes him under his wing and they have a great scene at a club where he's getting his first three martini lunch. McConaughey only forgets to teach DiCaprio one thing, discretion.

I can understand why women would truly hate this film as they are nothing more than pawns in a male power game, but The Wolf Of Wall Street gives us a fascinating look at a man who tried to play with the big boys of the Stock Exchange and for a while, did.
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Scorsese and DiCaprio Make Another Masterpiece
Michael_Elliott14 January 2014
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

**** (out of 4)

Two word review: A Masterpice.

Martin Scorsese's latest film is yet another brilliant one with Leonard DiCaprio turning in the greatest performance of his career as stockbroker Jordan Belfort who takes some rather bland people and turn them into one of the biggest scams that the FBI ever saw. THE WOLF OF WALL STREET is going to make many people unhappy and there are many more who are probably going to be offended by it but the perfection that is Scorsese was right when he decided to turn this into a comedy instead of a drama. Yeah, it's GOODFELLAS on speed and ramped up sex but it's just so brilliantly and wickedly funny that you can't help but laugh at all the craziness going on. Yes, there are some moral police out there who are going to object to a movie being made about a man who ripped off poor people but I'm sorry, I like the fact that this film doesn't really care about those people and instead just gives us an in-your-face look at these wild people, their wild drugs and their wild sex lives. This film is certainly over-the-top in regards to the excess but so were the characters so I thought they just went hand and hand with each other. Scorsese was the perfect person for this project because of his ramped up speed but here is goes all out and really delivers an incredibly wicked little ride that will have you smiling and laughing at some very questionable things.

I've been a fan of DiCaprio long before he became famous and this here is without question the greatest performance he's given so far. I was curious to see how he would do playing someone crazy and wild like this but he does so perfectly and I'd say it was a flawless performance. No matter what was going on in this crazy life you believe that you're watching a real character and as his character says throughout the film, sell him something. Well, DiCaprio sells this performance and role like no one else could. The supporting players are just as wonderful with Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, Matthew McConaughey and Jean Dujardin all delivering terrific performances. The cinematography, the music selections and everything else are just flawless here. THE WOLF OF WALL STREET could have been a complete disaster in so many ways but the strong screenplay and Scorsese's wicked direction makes it an incredibly entertaining film that works so well. It's hard to fully put into words what Scorsese and DiCaprio have pulled off but it's certainly one of the best and most memorable comedies in ages.
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Wolf of Wall Street review
Al_The_Strange29 December 2013
If you've seen The Goodfellas or Casino, then you'll know the story of The Wolf of Wall Street. This is another tale of a criminal whose ambitions sweep him away into a debauched world of dirty money, out-of-control substance abuse, endless lies, a troubled family life, and a downward spiral of corruption that inevitably leads to his own undoing. Only thing is, this is less about the gangsters and mafia, and more about white-collar crime. The guys wear suits, work in proper offices, and everything they do is just business; funnily enough, this whole movie still plays out like a kind of gangster film.

Based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort - the real-life stock broker who made millions by selling shoddy stocks to average joes - the film showcases one seriously messed-up slimeball of a man. If his scheme sounds familiar, it's because it's been the inspiration behind the 2000 film Boiler Room, and this film covers much of the same concepts, albeit with better structure. The film maintains a close and intimate focus on the man as he rises to power, suckers thousands into his schemes, and then lives a life of extreme excess. And it is extreme: the whole film becomes laden with drugs, sex, superficial luxuries, material things, and characters who want nothing more than to take and consume everything. The sheer corruption becomes palpable on-screen, and I couldn't help but to shake my head at numerous scenes when I saw just how far these wolfish characters have gone in their unrestrained partying and debauchery. I have no clue as to how closely this film adapts the real-life events, but at times it's almost hard to believe that things could have gone this far. And yet, the excesses serve to underscore key themes and criticisms on the American dream; the pursuit of money and success, through any means, remains the main drive of the characters and the movie, and it leads to a fairly hard-hitting downfall.

This film features good-looking photography and editing. Acting is great: Leonardo DiCaprio is practically perfect as the titular character, and the rest of the cast pulls their weight really well (including Jonah Hill, who seems to fit into his character's archetype very comfortably). Writing is really sharp and good; the film is full of great lines and great speeches. There are some great-looking sets, props, and costumes on display in this film. Music has a varied mix of songs, and they're all used really well for their intended effect.

The Wolf of Wall Street is every bit as good as Martin Scorsese's previous work with The Goodfellas and Casino. All these films work with similar plots and themes, but TWOWS is like a gangster film masked by the thin veil of upper-class corporate swindling. It is a film that candidly shows the crimes and excesses in full, before proving that, even for the super-rich, crime still doesn't pay.

Recommended! 4.5/5 (Entertainment: Good | Story: Very Good | Film: Perfect)
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Leo's best performance of all time!!
abdulazizalsaad-7305312 April 2021
Di caprio was robbed in the oscars whether you like it or not, the only reason why people give this movie a low rating is because of the over nudity, and it's the same reason why leo didn't get the oscar in my opinion, which is what I don't understand!!!, it's an r rated movie, so obviously there will be nudity, it's not a kid's movie!!!! , it's easily leo's best performance and scorcese's second best movie after goodfellas.
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A Three-Hour Bacchanalia Caught on Film
gavin69423 February 2014
Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.

As of now (February 2014), this film sits at an impressive #57 on IMDb's list of greatest films of all time. Using that as a jumping off point for this review, we will have to scale it back a bit. Whether the film should be on the list is debatable, but certainly not within the top 100 -- it is neither that good nor among director Martin Scorsese's best work.

Along the same lines, the Oscar nomination for Best Picture is a bit much. While there is no denying it was probably among the ten best films of 2013, with some incredible acting and more than adequate cinematography and editing, the very fact it has no chance of winning makes one question why even nominate the film at all. (Of course, without nine nominees, we would be back to having the reasonable number of five...)

Scorsese received a best director nomination, and this strikes me as more understandable. He managed to assemble an impressive cast and tell a story that is both compelling and entertaining, without trying to put some moral tag on it. Whether or not the viewer thinks this is a glorification or denouncement of the acts depicted is up to them, as the film itself is blank (in the best way).

While on the subject, could the drug use and sexuality have been toned down? Absolutely. And there is a good argument that they should have been (especially the non-stop sex, which comes across as gratuitous and only adds more minutes to this lengthy financial epic). Another argument says the events are extremely unlikely and exaggerated at times. And this is probably also true; but the film is accurate to the memoir, not reality, and this is Belfort telling his story with all the embellishments that come with it. If you want just the facts, read the court transcripts.

Leonardo DiCaprio is nominated for best actor, and this is a choice that is understandable and yet hard to rally behind. He truly becomes Belfort, and probably makes the man out to be even more wild than he was. That deserves a nomination. But this is not DiCaprio's best role (he has also done a fine job portraying Howard Hughes and J. Edgar Hoover) and not one he deserves the win for.

Jonah Hill, on the other hand, was amazing and deserves to win his supporting actor category. Being up again Jared Leto, he probably has no chance, but Hill has come a long way in a few short years from a lovable doofus in "Superbad" to a formidable actor in his own right. At first, "Moneyball" seemed to be an anomaly in Hil's career, but he showed the world he could do even better when he became Donny Azoff in this picture. Incredible.

Whether Terence Winter deserves Best Adapted Screenplay for this film is unclear without having read the book. Such a nomination seems fair, though the win is hard to say without more familiarity. I am surprised no nominations came for cinematography or editing, which are strong in their subtlety. But oh well.

Of the film's five nominations, it may walk away with one win (Winter) or two at most (DiCaprio). More likely it will walk away empty-handed. The film is not flawless (we could go on about how awkward the soundtrack was) and may or may not go on to be memorable for much more than its nudity and pervasive cursing.
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This is easily Leo's best performance ever!
alexscott-3529915 November 2021
This movie is absolutely amazing and it deserved way more Oscar wins. Leonardo DiCaprio is unbelievable and this movie is his best performance and he isn't the only one putting in an amazing performance, this film is littered with them, Jonah Hill is amazing, Margot Robbie is so good to say this was her first major role. I love the story that this movie is telling and the direction on how they tell it is amazing aswell. This is easily one of the best movies of all time and it will go down in history as one of Leo's best ever movies. I love it so much!
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Wolf in a $2,000 suit
tomsview14 June 2014
An old adage goes that if on a certain day, everyone in the world received a million dollars, by the end of the day, ten percent of the people would have all the money.

"The Wolf of Wall Street" pretty much shows how that could happen.

Based on Jordan Belfort's book, this is a very entertaining movie - although probably not for those who lost their money. The film follows Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) from newbie stockbroker to head of Stratton Oakmont, the largest 'Over The Counter' stockbroking firm in the US.

Along the way he has two marriages, acquires luxury homes and automobiles, a sea going yacht with a helicopter, a taste for wild office sex parties, which would put a Roman orgy to shame, and a huge drug habit. But even after the FBI steps in and everything unravels, the guy still can't help making money.

The movie is loud, lewd and often hilarious; it doesn't have a boring minute.

Matthew McConaughey gives a brief but telling performance as Mark Hanna who initiates Belfort into the darker side of Wall Street. He also introduces the tribal chest-thumping chant that becomes a motif throughout the film.

Aussie Margot Robbie is hard to take your eyes off as Belfort's second wife, Naomi. She was also an amusing guest on talk shows when the movie was released where she told how she pulled off the Brooklyn accent, and kept the news about her nude scenes from her family for as long as possible.

But this is Leonardo's movie. Although in his portrayal of Belfort, where there appears to be almost no moral or ethical boundaries, he keeps our sympathy because he can actually laugh at himself; it's a high energy performance, but with a light touch.

In a way, the performance has echoes of the one he gave for Spielberg in "Catch Me If You Can". Despite the fact that both Jordan Belfort and Frank Abagnale Jr. break the law, their sheer audacity dazzles us. Also, both Spielberg and Scorsese have great comedic timing; they know how to deliver a punch line. If you were looking for a reason why this film works better than Scorsese's "The Aviator", which also starred Leonardo, it could simply be the latter film's lack of humour - Hughes was eccentric but he wasn't funny.

Enjoyable as "The Wolf of Wall Street" is, at the end you can't help wondering if even half of it is true, how it is that with people like Belfort and his friends helping themselves to such over-sized slices of the pie, that the world's economy hasn't descended to the level it did in 1929. In a way, it's actually a very scary movie.
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Where Human Flaws Make a Rotten Core
Serge_Zehnder17 December 2013
Brilliantly acted, superbly written and as one would expect from a picture by Martin Scorsese, it is a masterclass of directorial craft.

Showy when it needs to be, but also quiet and contemplative. "The Wolf of Wall Street" is the equivalent of something like "Good Fellas" or even more so "Casino" but set in the world of finance. The suits might be more expensive but the people who wear them are just as sick and violent as their street-mob counterparts. Sardonic in humor and unflinching in showing the depravity of its characters, it marks somewhat of a different approach to the world of stock-trading than Oliver Stone's "Wall Street".

Where Stone seems more in line with Bertold Brecht who considered theater (or in this case film) a moral institution, does Scorsese take the position of the omnipresent observer of the dark side of the American and in many cases the human dream.

Leonard DiCaprio gives another stellar performance of great intensity and even greater tragedy while this tale of corruption, greed and self-righteousness unfolds.

It's a vast panorama that shows how during the last twenty-five to thirty years gullibility as well as our innate greed make all of us accomplices in this never-ending pyramid scheme far away from any reality.

One could almost hear Scorsese's clerical background come to the fore again, according to which nobody is without sin, and therefore we are all susceptible to corruption.

It is our decision on which side we choose to live that makes the difference. For every individual but also society as a whole.
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Goodfellas Meets Wall Street Meets Biting Black Comedy
Theo Robertson21 January 2014
" The business of America is business " screams an old cliché but like so many clichés it's based on reality . Is there much difference between a gangster and a stockbroker ? It's the sign of a very poor mobster who can't make a profit for his firm and it's the same with the stock market . Thankfully capitalism is legal and every other socio-economic alternative has been a disaster for humanity but one can't help equating the stock exchange with being the same as gangsterism , supply and demand without any moral or humanitarian mores and one wonders how American auteur Martin Scorsese might bring a story of Wall Street to screen ? If there's a problem with Scorsese he sometimes remakes the same type of film as in THE KING OF COMEDY and BRINGING OUT THE DEAD are remakes of TAXI DRIVER . likewise GOODFELLAS was remade as CASINO .One can't help thinking the temptation to make a story featuring an amoral capitalist could quite easily end up becoming a gangster film set in the world of high finance . " All my life I wanted to be a white collar criminal "

In effect this is how the film works to a large degree but Scorsese is on top of his game so having such a large similarity on a narrative and visual level with GOODFELLAS and CASINO doesn't matter because for a movie lasting three hours it just flies by . Once again Scorsese uses the directorial technique of intensified continuity which is film critic speak for in your face direction . All the Scorsese hallmarks are here , breaking down the figurative fourth wall , garish and glossy cinematography , constant camera movement , pumping intrusive music etc etc . It's all here and you've seen it all before but it's so well done that none of this matters and remains totally compelling as once again the master director brings us Shakespearean tragedy in its most American and cinematic form

To be fair to Jordan Belfort he didn't torture or kill anybody and his methods of gaining economic profit only differs from the rest of the finance sector in that they're illegal . Actually in amongst the excess of drugs , sex and foul language the storytelling doesn't make a very good job in telling the audience the difference between legal and illegal stockbroking but we're asked to take on board that Belfort isn't that bad because he's played by DiCaprio . Fair enough and he does a good job as a shallow and greedy boy who seduces stupid greedy people in handing over their cash . The rest of the cast also go along with the loud colourful style of the movie but was I puzzled by the one scene cameo by Mathew McConaughey in a pivotal role and kept expecting his character to make a reappearance at some point in the film which doesn't happen . . it'll be very ironic if as I expect McConaughey beats DiCaprio to the Oscar this year . A British audience might also find the casting of Joanna Lumley distracting in much the same way as Ray Winstone in THE DEPARTED , but the cinema audience I watched this with spent much of the running time laughing at the grotesque blackly comical scenes as they played out on screen . Mission accomplished Marty , although one can't help thinking an inclusion of a scene where Belfort passes a card warning a colleague about something is trying a little bit too hard to paint Belfort in a better light than he deserves . I mean it's not like anyone would be queuing up to listen to his lecture seminars after seeing this film is it now ?

This is one of the better films from the long , prolific resume of Martin Scorsese , possibly his best since GOODFELLAS but one that will probably be very under rewarded at the prestigious award ceremonies due to one of the strongest film line ups seen in many years . It also won't convert anyone in to being a new found Scorsese fan but for those of us who's enjoyed his familiar language of cinema to tell a story about the American dream turning in to a nightmare it's proof once again that he's Hollywood's greatest living director.
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Excess Is Boring, Especially When It's Three Hours Long
evanston_dad9 January 2014
Martin Scorsese at his undisciplined worst.

"The Wolf of Wall Street" is 90 minutes of glib satire stretched over an interminable 180 minute film. I get it, I get it -- the excess of the film itself matches the excess of the Wall Street world depicted in it. But excess, both as a subject matter and as a style, is boring after a while. The first hour or so of the film blows the roof off the joint, and I was sure I was experiencing a film that would go down as one of Scorsese's best. But as it went on and on, and Leonardo DiCaprio's performance became more and more histrionic, and the film made the same point over and over, I had that depressing feeling that comes when a movie you're really enjoying makes a wrong turn and becomes one you really dislike.

"The Wolf of Wall Street" is of course critic proof. Anyone who doesn't like it is instantly categorized by its fan boys as stodgy and unable to handle the subject matter, as if it's an impossibility that someone could dislike the film simply because they don't think it's any good. Whatever. It's an overblown mess, stupid when it's trying to be funny (the Quaalude scene, for example) and in desperate need of someone who had the balls to tell one of America's greatest directors that he was letting his material run away with itself.

Grade: C
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sometimes hilarious
SnoopyStyle10 November 2014
Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a regular guy from Long Island working at the ground level in a Wall Street firm where Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) is the star broker. On the first day of him becoming a licensed stockbroker, the market crashes in Black Monday. His firm goes bankrupt and he's thrown into the streets. With the support of his wife Teresa (Cristin Milioti), he ends up working in a Long Island boiler room dealing in penny stocks. He starts his own firm gathering a group of questionable salesman like Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill). He quickly rises gaining the attention of FBI Agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler). It is a drug-filled, stripper-strutting, midget-throwing wild-partying office. Jordan has an affair with Naomi Lapaglia (Margot Robbie) and eventually even marrying her. However the high life doesn't last even with their own Swiss banker.

This has some funny moments and sometimes even gut busting hilarity. I do have a small problem trying to enjoy this movie at the start. Jordan becomes essentially a con man. The joke is that they're having all this fun but I can never forget that the fun is done on everybody else's dime. The characters laugh while I cringe. About halfway through, I do get acclimatized and feel more at ease with the movie. There are some great scenes. The scene of Jordan rallying the troops for the Steve Madden IPO is amazing. Leo gives a full-out performance.
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The funniest movie of 2013
TheConnoisseurReviews25 December 2013
"The Wolf of Wall Street" is infectiously entertaining. It is probably the funniest movie I have seen all year with witty dialogue, over the top characters, and filled with energy that bleeds off the screen. Between all the fun however,  there is also a story about addiction and how it can cause a downward spiral in your life whether it be drugs, money, or power.

Acclaimed director Martin Scorsese does a wonderful job keeping this movie at a high at all times. Never once does this movie lose it's energy or sense of humor much like the drug induced characters. There are a lot of quick cuts and edits to keep the movie feeling as If you are on drugs as well as playing high energy music in some of the more serious situations.

The cast brings their "A" game. The stand out is obviously Leonardo DiCaprio, who pretty much owns and excels any scene he is in. This film really showcases his diverse range.

Overall "The Wolf of Wall Street" is a full on adrenaline ride that never loses momentum. It's directed with a lot of flair and energy and has an incredibly well written script that gives it depth and a ton of laughs. The cast is fantastic and DiCaprio gives his best and most fun filled performance to date. I really enjoyed this movie and think it's the funniest movie of the year 4.5/5
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Hugely entertaining, if a little long
zetes31 December 2013
Martin Scorsese redoes Goodfellas in the financial sector. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a young man immediately smitten with the ruthlessness of Wall Street (at first represented by Matthew McConaughey in a hilarious cameo). After the market sees a startling crash in the late '80s, DiCaprio gets pushed out of the big leagues. He quickly finds a way in smaller markets, pushing penny stocks. He figures out ways, not all of them strictly legal, to make cash hand over fist. Soon, paired with new best friend Jonah Hill, he opens his own firm. All the rules go out the door as he pulls in millions of dollars a year, which leads to all sorts of drug-fueled mayhem. The draw here is the pure debauchery. It will surely offend some, but the pure spectacle of depravity is enormously amusing. The film really doesn't want to think too hard about the awful things that Belfort is doing, which is kind of a bold choice. Sure, he does end up suffering in the end, but, with all he experienced beforehand, the little bit of suffering seems almost worth it. It could easily be argued that it's a hugely immoral film, but I think it just wants to put us in the action. The film has an epic runtime, which isn't really deserved. I wasn't exactly bored with it (though I was feeling it physically), but it could have been shortened. DiCaprio gives one of his best performances, but I was most amused by Hill. Many will despise his abrasive character, but I thought he was hilarious.
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Entertainment, not reality
bobbobwhite26 December 2013
Yes, Scorsese has always entertained us so well with abberant types, from mobsters to street criminals to boiler room stock brokers, all dealing death or financial destruction 24/7. But, do any of them bear even a faint resemblance to what really happened, and did those people actually behave that way? Regarding this film, I worked on Wall Street during that time, and even though we had heard of Jordan Belfort's firm, it was totally discounted as a boiler room and had no Street cred at all, just a terrible rep as sleazebag junk. It was no more than a side story to the real Wall Street, as those boiler room types were the lowest level of that era's greed-is-good WS slicksters.

But, the movie.....could any human superman take the amount of drugs and unprotected sex shown in this story and even function, let alone at a high continuous level and not have a fatal heart attack? None that I have known or seen, and I have seen a lot. But, Dicaprio as Belfort was a marvelous choice for this outsized role, and he played it to the hilt as never before, with Jonah Hill as his sidekick comic relief, and Matthew Macconaughey a great choice for Belfort's oddball, probably whacked out(off?)mentor, and Bob DeNiro in a short mobster spot.

It was such fast action that the 3 hours went by quickly, with not a dull moment in it. I enjoyed the fantasy ride that Disney could not have done better, but I could never get past the fact that it was 99% dramatized fiction, done to sell tickets(greed is good!) but not to enlighten us at all about the real Wall Street of that era.
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Greed reigns supreme!
lee_eisenberg29 December 2013
Martin Scorsese must be a director who can't make a bad movie. Most of his movies have focused on streetwise lowlifes, and so now he looks at a different kind of lowlife: the Wall Street kind. "The Wolf of Wall Street" is the true story of stockbroker Jordan Belfort. Having come of age in the '80s, Belfort was convinced that there was nothing wrong with greed, and so he stopped at nothing to get what he wanted. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Belfort as an amoral slimeball leading a hedonistic, frat boy lifestyle: drugs, booze, hookers, the whole shebang. And yet the whole thing is very funny.

There have been complaints that the movie glorifies greed and egotism by portraying the characters having a lot of fun. I'd say that the movie is showing how they don't have a care in the world. They make millions and spend it on their own decadence.

No, it's not Martin Scorsese's best movie, but you're sure to have a lot of fun watching it (understanding of course that the characters are NOT good people). I recommend it.
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"The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullcrap story you keep telling yourself as to why you can't achieve it."
Bored_Dragon30 May 2022
Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" is based on the autobiography of Jordan Belfort, who, using loopholes in the law, created a multimillion-dollar brokerage empire out of nothing, lived the 'American dream' and ended up in prison.

"My name is Jordan Belfort. I'm a former member of the middle class raised by two accountants in a tiny apartment in Bayside, Queens. The year I turned 26, as the head of my own brokerage firm, I made $49 million, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week."

The film was flawlessly shot (nominations for best film and directing) and, although it lasts for three hours, it is not boring for a moment, and for the most part it is even very entertaining. Leonardo DiCaprio excelled in the lead role, but, as usual, remained only on the Oscar nomination. He is supported by Jonah Hill (also an Oscar nominee), Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, and many other not-so-famous, but no less good actors.

If you are looking for a dramatic but humorous portrayal of life on a high but shaky leg, a newly rich man who lives fast in crazy sex, drugs, and more drugs manner, you are in the right place. To gain some idea of the explicitness and decadence in the film, it is interesting to note that DiCaprio once cited the Tinto Brass' "Caligula" (1979) as an inspiration and role model for making this movie.

"Let me tell you something. There's no nobility in poverty. I have been a rich man and I have been a poor man. And I choose rich every time. Because, at least as a rich man, when I have to face my problems, I show up in the back of the limo, wearing a $2000 suit and a $40,000 gold watch."

But, although this story has some indication of social criticism and the potential for a deeper and more serious film, it still remains in the domain of a typical American blockbuster, without much substance and point.

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The best part of this movie is the reviews here on IMDb
cekadah26 January 2014
Three hours of story and I had no reaction to any of the characters - no likes, no hates, no caring, no nothing.

There is no comedy, no drama, no scary scenes, no thrills, no acting! It's just a bunch of name and no name actors running around thinking they are making one of those goofy frat college flicks.

This episodic tale of Jordan Belfort wants to be so much of what it is not and that not is 'entertaining'. The plot line just goes in circles and we all know he's got to have his downfall - otherwise there is no story.

And if there is a message hidden somewhere in this tale it's that you can't trust Wall Street - what a shock! Who knew?
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popular for no reason
jacobjohntaylor13 June 2016
There are great actors in this movie. The story line is awful. The characters are awful. This is the boring life story of a crook from wall street. Why do we care. So what if it is real. It is boring. It is not an 8.2. It is one of the worst crime dramas ever. A movie best on a true story can be good. This is not one of then. To many people like movies just because they are best on a true story. It does not matter that the writing stinks. Good actors wasted there time being in this awful movie. Do not waste your money. Do not waste your time. Do not see this awful movie. Bad movie bad movie bad movie. I need more lines and I am running out of things to say.
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THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (Martin Scorsese, 2013) ***
Bunuel19762 March 2014
Considering its many affiliations with American HUSTLE (noted in that film's review), it is interesting to watch how in the former, the F.B.I. emerged as foolhardy in their undeniably well-meaning approach – while here they are treated more or less as the heroes of the day when their operation proves a resounding success! Anyway, much has been said of this latest Martin Scorsese/Leonardo Di Caprio collaboration – especially in how it treads the line of tastelessness for much of its 3 hour duration (with some of the admittedly over-the-top sex'n'drugs antics seeming to belong more in a grindhouse or even "Euro-Cult" movie from the 1970s!). Still, I feel this backlash (especially for the way such serious offenses as depicted in the film are treated in blackly comic terms) was itself extreme: just note how much attention has been given to the dwarf-throwing gag (the pros and cons of such a wild scheme are amusingly delineated just like any other business-related item!) but, seeing how it occurs during the very opening scene, one would expect the viewer to have totally worked it out of his system by the time the picture's end credits start rolling! Indeed, to Scorsese's credit, if the Jordan Belfort gang's scamming of both poor and rich people was dealt with so thoroughly – or, should I say, the rewards they reaped from it – these characters' fall from grace is at least as detailed and spectacular; so, in that respect, it comes off as a balanced evaluation of a particular lifestyle which, like it or not, exists…and to which gullible people themselves contribute in a misguided attempt to increase their own bank account without having to work for it!

As for Di Caprio, his performance is indeed among the year's best and one of his own towering achievements – but, personally, I feel he was even better in THE AVIATOR (2004) and SHUTTER ISLAND (2010; for which he was not even Oscar-nominated!), both also for Scorsese. The film under review is up for just five Academy Awards, which rather shuts it out from winning any of the top categories – unless the AMPAS voters prefer the star to Matthew McConaughey in DALLAS BUYERS CLUB (another initially reprehensible real-life character dealing in illegal substances but, in his case, for the common good rather than self-gratification), which I sincerely doubt!; incidentally, McConaughey himself turns up here early on as the anti-hero's mentor and whose ritualistic hum to get him functioning on a daily basis is even worked into a song by the actor and the film's music director Robbie Robertson (ex-member of The Band and a Scorsese regular)!

Jonah Hill as the protagonist's sidekick is also shortlisted in the Supporting Actor category but, while his contribution is highly entertaining, there is little depth to the part (even less so where their other colleagues are concerned, who somehow seem stuck in the lower rungs of the firm despite its obvious flourish!). Di Caprio's role – being based on the book written by Belfort himself – is clearly much more rounded, then, especially since his intermittent narration is adamant that money and power (even more so when acquired at a young age and unlawfully) too often lead one on a self-destructive path…and the fact that he was able to rise again after 'doing time' is a testament to his talent for survival, if nothing else! To go back to its ties with American HUSTLE, the F.B.I. sequences necessarily recall those of Scorsese's earlier and superior GOODFELLAS (1990) – which suggests that its best (and funniest) moments tend to involve the after-effects of the copious intake of drugs, notably DiCaprio getting tongue-tied during a vital telephone call and his 'spastic' attempts to reach his luxurious car and drive back home. For the record, film director Rob Reiner appears as Di Caprio's colourful dad and Jean Dujardin is a Swiss Bank manager (to where the countless millions are literally transferred out of the federal authorities' reach). On a personal note, I should say that I was expecting to hate this going in but I have had to eat my words and admit that it was an enjoyable if (no pun intended) taxing ride...which, as soon as it was over, made me run to the medicine cabinet and pop a headache pill myself!
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