Film Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

by Callum B. Downes


Sex, drugs and well… Money. It’s quite frankly the lifestyle that every broke University student dreams about. They also know full well, that spending four years of their life contributing to a HECS debt means that these dreams will forever be locked within their sub-conscious. Sorry, wrong DiCaprio movie.

Even if you don’t fit into the wild stereotype I have so ignorantly described above, you most certainly will after riding the rollercoaster life of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio). A self-made multi-millionaire, who thrives on a diet of cocaine, lobster and hookers, all of which are encouraged, are in fact seen as vital tools of the trade, within the confides of his stock broker firm, Stratton Oakmont.

Director, Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull, Casino & The Departed), masterfully glamorises Belfort’s relentless pursuit of the American dream, leaving nothing to the imagination, only surpassing imagination it self. Fast cars, immaculate mansions, private cruise ships, glamorous work functions, where exploited midgets covered in Velcro are used for target practice, and a super model wife (Margot Robbie), whose private parts seem like a perfect spot to rack up a line or two, are just a few of the seemingly endless benefits of earning as many “fun coupons” as Jordan Belfort. It reaches a point where you think, who cares if he is a grimy stock broker who fraudulently sells billions of dollars worth of stock to vulnerable clients, before selling his own shares just as the prices plummet and storing these profits in off shore bank accounts? He’s dirty, stinking rich and it’s really freaking entertaining! Not to mention hilarious. Easily cementing it’s place as Scorsese’s funniest film, due to refreshingly witty dialogue from writer Terrance Winter (The Sapranos & Boardwalk Empire).


More impressively, however, Scorsese captures the inevitable downfall of any man living out such a greedy, immoral and illegal lifestyle, to a point where the shallowness of the American dream becomes as cringe worthy as the cheap hookers who entertain Belfort’s Employees under the desks. His closest friends and family become cannon fodder amidst the constant efforts to maintain the exponential dividends of the firm. It is during these surprisingly dark moments when you realise why the movie has been labelled as a drama. Simply, heart wrenching material.


Eventually, Belfort’s ego and short fuse land him in hot water and the intended message of the film becomes clear. The piercing interrogation of human desire leads us to understand the immorality and fruitlessness of the American dream, which Scorsese him self pursued during his illustrious career.

Prepare to laugh, cry and have all your teenage fantasies crushed within 179 minutes.