At age 71, Martin Scorsese proves with this riotous romp that he's one of the most energetic, audacious filmmakers working in America at the moment. And with his long-time 74-year-old editor Thelma Schoonmaker, he has created one of the most entertaining cautionary tales in recent memory. Not only does it highlight an unruly period in banking history, but it has a lot to say about where we are now.
This is the true story of Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio), who was 21 when he got his first job on Wall Street in the rough-and-tumble 1980s. Thanks to his illicit deals, he was a multi-millionaire within five years, tutored by a jaded veteran (McConaughey) and assisted by an enthusiastic novice (Hill). Along the way, he also swaps for a much more glamorous wife (Robbie), whose British aunt (Lumley) becomes part of his scam to stash his cash with a shady Swiss banker (Dujardin). But with an FBI agent (Chandler) on his trail, Jordan suspects that the high life can't go on forever.
At just under three hours long, the film sometimes feels like it is wallowing in the excessive sex and drugs along with these Wall Street criminals. But there's a jagged undercurrent to everything: all of this hedonism may look like fun, but someone is paying the price. The film is an often thrilling series of set-pieces that roll out in waves of comedy, tragedy and farce as these people play on the edge of an abyss. And it's great to see scenes play out in real time, with deep conversations, riotous comedy riffs and characters who are full of conflicting layers.
This is easily DiCaprio's best-yet performance, as he helps us understand and even sympathise with a man who's a rather nasty piece of work. Opposite him, the snappy Hill and McConaughey are standouts, as are sly side players Dujardin and Lumley. There isn't anyone on-screen that we like, but we can't take our eyes off of them. Meanwhile, Scorsese and his crew show off filmmaking genius that creates an electrical sense of energy along with some astutely dark edges. And it's impossible to miss the point that bankers today are up to even more irresponsible activities that these guys were 30 years ago.
Run time: 180 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 25th December 2013
Box Office USA: $116.9M
Box Office Worldwide: $392M
Distributed by: Paramount Studios
Production compaines: EMJAG Productions, Paramount Pictures, Red Granite Pictures, Appian Way, Sikelia Productions
Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Fresh: 190 Rotten: 57
IMDB: 8.3 / 10
Director: Martin Scorsese
Screenwriter: Terence Winter
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, Jonah Hill as Donnie Azoff, Margot Robbie as Naomi Lapaglia, Kyle Chandler as Agent Patrick Denham, Rob Reiner as Max Belfort, Matthew McConaughey as Mark Hanna, Jon Bernthal as Brad, Kenneth Choi as Chester Ming, P. J. Byrne as Nicky Koskoff ('Rugrat'), Brian Sacca as Robbie Feinberg ('Pinhead'), Henry Zebrowski as Alden Kupferberg ('Sea Otter'), Jon Favreau as Manny Riskin, Cristin Milioti as Teresa Petrillo, Joanna Lumley as Aunt Emma, Jake Hoffman as Steve Madden, Ethan Suplee as Toby Welch, Jean Dujardin as Jean-Jacques Handali
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