The Wolf of Wall Street

6 Overall Score
Characters: 7/10
Story: 6/10
Appeal: 5/10

DiCaprio is at his best, and the ridiculous portrayal of Wall Street culture is fun to watch.

The film lacks heart, direction, and mindlessly falls apart in its second half.

Martin Scorsese’s new film, The Wolf of Wall Street, depicts the drunken side of 90s stock culture. The director tells the story of sex, drugs, and the stock market through the eyes of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a man who went from young opportunist to stock-selling director and the life of the party in just a few short years. Belfort and his co-workers surrender to material obsession, and they go absolutely overboard as they cheat the market and thrive off the resulting cash. It’s excessive, it’s filthy, and it’s absolutely nuts. But while it’s fun to watch much of the time, it overrides any sense of admonition with aimless poise almost all of the time.

As someone who abstains from drugs and alcohol, is saving sex until marriage (yes, I’m not afraid to admit it), and tries – and often fails – to use a clean vocabulary, this movie was hard to relate to from the start. And that would’ve been fine, as long as the film demonstrated the full negative effects of greed and material obsession. But The Wolf of Wall Street failed to do so, and instead thrived off the shock value of lust and drunkenness — thus coming off as superficial and lacking prudence or direction. It’s incredible the amount of times the f-word was said, and it’s even more incredible how many were used simply for entertainment.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREETPerhaps, too, I’m just overly concerned for my own personal health and self-control, but that doesn’t give Scorsese the right to throw all of that aside. You’d think for a three hour-long character study that examines wealth in all of its extremes, this film would utilize the multiple perspectives and overall righteous attitude towards the mistakes Belfort made. But it doesn’t, and that disappointed me. The first hour is a straight-up ridiculous portrayal of depraved stockbroker culture, but it just monotonously continues in a 180-minute runtime that becomes an endurance test. It’s just party, party, party, and the excess diminishes the substance.

My opinion of Scorsese – and not just with The Wolf, but with GoodFellas as well – is that he makes good movies, but not likable movies. This movie was highly entertaining, but I couldn’t find anything to like about the story or the characters — especially Belfort’s partner (Jonah Hill), as the Academy Award-nominated person appears as the matured economist from Moneyball but acts like he’s on the same drugs from 21 Jump Street. The failed connection is a shame, too, because the set pieces, script, and ambiance were strong in their own right; they definitely show that this film should be in a class of its own aesthetically.

The Wolf of Wall Street - Promo 2The Wolf tells the story of a man who falls into a dangerous routine, but doesn’t show the complete tragedy that his life and the lives of those around him become. Even when Jordan learns about his mistakes, he keeps the same attitude and materialistic goals. And God, the characters are just such horrible, one-dimensioned people that they’re downright unlikable. DiCaprio gives a powerful, Oscar-worthy performance as Belfort, the over-the-top, personality-driven moneymaker, but his character is hardly one to root for — especially since the movie practically rests on his shoulders and relies on his poor choices to be made over and over again.

Martin Scorsese spent the past decade making some incredible cinematic works, bringing in diverse casts while dabbling with several genres. But The Wolf of Wall Street seems more like the follow-up to GoodFellas — a Scorsese film that finds the director at a ruthless divide, throwing together a movie that is sure to polarize. And while I had a bit of fun, I think I’ve had enough for a while.

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Author: Tim Dodderidge View all posts by
I'm a student at the University of Kansas hoping to major in journalism. I love Christopher Nolan films, eating at Taco Bell, and playing indoor soccer. I also like to watch How I Met Your Mother and enjoy writing poetry.

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