Imagine the film Goodfellas when Henry Hill was still a teenager – parking Cadillacs, rubbing shoulders with influential people, and scoffing at authority. Tack on three hours, enough drugs and booze to kill a Tijuana mule and you’re starting to get a sense of what Martin Scorsese’s latest flick, The Wolf of Wall Street is really like. With Leonardo DiCaprio in the titular and very real role of Jordan Belfort – affectionately tagged “The Wolf of Wall Street” after a less-than-flattering profile in Forbes – the movie plays out with one memorable scene after the other – Russian roulette mixed with Jenga mixed with Twister. It’s truly a bender for the senses – with the arrogant and young Belfort our tour guide into the financial sector.
Martin Scorsese’s movies are long. His last five films – Wolf (179), Hugo (125), Shutter Island (138), The Departed (151), and The Aviator (169) have an average running time of two hours and thirty-two minutes. In the hands of other directors, The Wolf of Wall Street would have gotten to the “meat and potatoes” a lot sooner, but Scorsese has an established record of using voice over to reveal key details – thus allowing visuals with plenty of good music playing over the top to provide the cocaine opus that is as key a set-up as Belfort’s greed.
Leonardo Dicaprio is a younger man’s Johnny Depp – except the aforementioned slayer of lingerie models prefers emotional dress-up over physical transformations that Depp has seemed to favor through the years. After stealing the show as Calvin Candy in Django Unchained last Christmas, he’s front and center from minute one and never seems to take a scene off. Equally up for the challenge is Jonah Hill – who in certain moments totally makes you forget he was a Judd Apatow muse as recently as 2007. After really cutting his teeth in drama with Moneyball, Wolf proves that there’s no fluke to his talents.