Greed, lust, hedonism and a whole lot of arrogance define Jordan Belfort, the wolf of Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Belfort is not a particularly nice person; Scorsese does not depict him as ever having been so. Most likely the real Belfort, on whose life this film is based, was not half as charming as Leonardo DiCaprio – the one good reason to watch this 174-minute long film.
Wolf of Wall Street is the quintessential story of a guy from the boondocks taking a big bite out of the Big Apple and becoming the millionaire success story. But what goes up must come down till one day the law catches up with him and his white-collar crimes.
After serving time (22 months) for fraud and money laundering, blessed with the gift of the gab, Belfort went on to become a motivational speaker. But here’s the thing: there is nothing inspirational about this life story really and Belfort is not that interesting a character.
So what makes The Wolf of Wall Street a film worth watching? Scorsese’s mastery, of course, and the fun he’s having creating this crazy world where dollar bills are as worthless as toilet paper and drugs are consumed more than water. Scorsese is quietly deriding this lifestyle and this paragon of capitalism and DiCaprio is accompanying him on the ride all the way.
But for a delectable cameo by Matthew McConaughey as Jordan’s first boss there is also the irritation of Jonah Hill as Jordan’s closest confidante. And like the guest appearance by Joanna Lumley as an aunt, Jean Dujardin as a Swiss banker, a swanky yacht, The Wolf of Wall Street is peppered with stylish distractions. It dispenses with emotional connection, is over-written and repetitive (sex, drugs, more of the same and then some more bad behaviour). But, one can overlook these aberrations in favour of watching team Scorsese and DiCaprio at work.