There was no movie hyped more this year (hyped, not advertised – so I’m not looking at you, Anchorman 2) than this movie, and it was for good reason; Martin Scorsese and his favourite lead actor, Leonardo DiCaprio were teaming up again for (what would appear to be) another classic film (The Aviator, Catch Me If You Can, The Departed, Gangs of New York, Shutter Island for examples) and there would literally be no room for disappointment, because with these two, it didn’t come often. Was I excited when I first saw the trailer that used a (then) new Kanye West song that hadn’t even been released? Yes. Was I prepared to be wowed by cinematic royalty? Yes. So why is it that I came out of this movie with a feeling of ‘meh’? That doesn’t happen with Scorsese movies for me, but it did in this case. Wolf gives you a sense of just what anyone will do to make a lot of money even if it means to manipulate and fraud others for your own expense. A lot of people call these ‘Pyramid Schemes’, and if you’re familiar with them, then you’ll get a bit of the connection while you watch it.
Jordan Belfort was the ordinary American and what is the ordinary American Dream? Get married, have some kids, be financially independent and the world spins. Belfort had aspirations to be something bigger than that; he wanted to be a rich man – a very rich man. The one place where you can get an opportunity to do so was on Wall Street (in his particular case), and as you rubs elbows with the right people and apply your talent, you’re able to go out on your own ventures and become that thing you aspire to be – which he did. This movie happened to be a Biopic, so a lot of things were true when it came to his grand lifestyle which included a lot of sex, drugs, and of course, money. The movie follows his life from when he first steps on Wall Street as a young kid full of ambition, and from there we witness the transformation of a Young gunner to a high rolling tyrant who didn’t know what to do with his money because he made money faster than he could spend it. It was a different role to witness Leo in because he was more animated than usual, lively, loud, and fun. That wasn’t the issue I had with the movie.
Character development and story progression are key, and Scorsese is a master of building it up, holding it, and bringing it all together at the end or just leaving you confused wondering where to look to next. The cast that was compiled made for the movie to be a fun batch to watch for a 3 hour length, but there were moments where they dragged on longer than they should and I was just like ‘get it over with already’. Through a lot of drug trips, a lot of hookers, and a lot of exasperating yelling and screaming (with some dancing), you get the idea pretty quickly and you just want the thing to end. The movie started to pick up when more contributing factors to harm Jordan’s riches started to appear and manifest, and then when Jordan’s addiction started to affect his personal life and business way of thinking, that’s when you could see the development of his character start to get interesting. The problem was that it took so long for it to get interesting that you get lost in the middle and you end up just waiting for something to happen. Now mind you, there were funny moments and Jonah Hill definitely contributed to them; I felt that there were a lot of scenes that I could have done without, but all in all everything that was put on display did play a factor in telling the story of Belfort (even though at times things jumped from one time to another without forewarning or explanation).
Could this movie have been a lot better? Yes. I’m surprised that I don’t really care for this movie more than I should have, but it is what it is, and these things happen. Martin Scorsese is still one of the greatest directors ever, and Leonardo DiCaprio is still one of the greatest actors in this generation. One sub-par movie won’t change that, and their legacy won’t be diminished. It’s just a very Kanye/Micheal Jordan shrug movie. Nothing more and nothing less. See it for yourself if you’re into the award buzzworthy movies at this time of year, but for anyone else, I’d just rent it. This is my opinion, this is my review, but for now
That’s My Word & It STiXX