Monday, 16 February 2015
The Wolf of Wall Street
If The Wolf of Wall Street can be summed up in one sentence, then it would be the tale of excess; the story of the too much. Granted, I already had too much of Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio already: previous way-too-long partnerships in The Aviator and Gangs of New York proved one should steer away from yet another three hour long collaboration. But I got there, eventually.
The Wolf of Wall Street represents the story of real life conman Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio), or at least his version of his real life story. It tells the tale of an ordinary wife loving guy who dips his feet in Wall Street and becomes permanently, hopelessly, sick with excessive capitalism following lunch with his new boss (Matthew McConaughey, whose Hollywood status reached a level allowing him to focus on the weird short cameos and weird long "cameos" in True Detective). The boss calls it like it is: no one really knows what stocks are going to do; all a professional Wall Street guy can do is milk their clients so that they (the Wall Street guys) make as much money as possible from their clients. Oh, and to get through a day of living such a life, one has to rely on hookers and drugs.
Belfort loses his job in one of the famous Wall Street collapses, but quickly finds himself another job selling off the chart stocks to ignorant victims. Because these are off the chart stocks, Belfort makes 50% commission out of each transaction; because he's good at conning people out of their money, he quickly establishes himself an empire. An empire that has him surrounded by sex, drugs and fellow weirdos whose humanity was long lost to the American Dream (e.g., Jonah Hill).
The Wolf of Wall Street is a tale of two halves. In the first hour and a half we witness Belfort going from one excess to another. It's very extreme, it's very in your face, and it's just unbelievable how low a man can go. The second half is much better and is more conventionally entertaining: it's the tale of Belfort's facing up to the consequences of his actions. More or less, given that we know the real life figure behind the movie managed to find asylum in Australia, wrote a very successful book about his escapades, and got himself a big fat cheque and a cameo after a movie was made about him by an Academy Award winning director and a Golden Globe winner actor.
Best scene: A heavily drugged Belfort's only way to get back home and warn his friend that the FBI has his phone tapped is to roll over the floor, very gradually, all the way back to his car (a Lamborghini). I'm not a big DiCaprio fan; there is something about him that annoys me. However, I have to give it to him: this scene and many others have him at the top of his acting form. This scene, in particular, made me laugh my pants off.
Overall: This first person story you'd never want to hear proved a worthwhile experience in the end. 3.5 out of 5 overdosed crabs.