If you are easily offended by swearing, drugs, nudity, crudity in any form, unadulterated capitalism, or the unapologetic objectification of women, this film may not be for you.
It is three hours of immoral behaviour narrated by Jordan Belfort, a self-important rich businessman played by the ever-enigmatic Leonardo DiCaprio.
Yet it’s almost impossible to turn away or truly despise any of the characters for their greed. The whole cast is captivating, as is the stunning display of wealth in a film that starts out with a young 22-year-old Belfort aspiring to “make it” on Wall Street, but soon devolves into something resembling a con-man movie.
The Wolf of Wall Street follows the life of Belfort as he is inducted into Wall Street, finds himself selling petty shares in a small town, builds a company based on shady deals and a whole lot of lies, makes it big, and then spirals into mayhem as the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission hound him for every count of fraud and deception.
It’s like watching a car crash, but strangely amusing. Director Martin Scorsese has produced a film that will make you laugh out loud, even as you’re cringing or shaking your head in disgust.
It is the charisma of the Wall Street conmen that drives the success of the movie, with lots of witty lines, random funniness, and some unexpected yet brilliant physical comedy – particularly in a scene where Belford is so high his body appears to be having a seizure. Throw in a bizarre cameo by Matthew McConaughey, way too much Jonah Hill and the beautiful Margot Robbie as Belford’s wife, and you’ve got an oddly hilarious film.
The Wolf of Wall Street won’t appeal to all sensibilities, but it certainly deserves the Oscar nominations it has received.