715 of 807 people found the following review helpful
Nine Things about “The Wolf of Wall Street”
1. This is a raunchy, foul-mouthed tale of American greed based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker convicted of market manipulation.
2. I think this movie contains more drugs, sex, and swearing than all the other movies I saw this year put together. Of course it’s gratuitous – this guy’s whole lifestyle was gratuitous. So it works.
3. This movie is also an acidly funny satire on Wall Street.
4. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Jordan, a money-hungry young man with more ambition than brains.
5. Jordan hires his knucklehead weed dealer friends to start a small semi-legal stockbroker firm. As they get more successful, they get less legal.
6. DiCaprio has always been an excellent actor – but this may be his best performance ever. And Jonah Hill is also great as the douchebag friend.
7. Jordan’s schemes were complicated and hard to understand for us regular folk, but the movie does a good job of dumbing it down – mostly by telling us that all we need to know is that he’s doing really illegal things.
8. The scene where Jordan overdoses on Quaaludes is a minor masterpiece of physical comedy and is one of the single best scenes of the year. I didn’t know DiCaprio had it in him.
9. The movie is three hours long, so, like the stock market, this movie is an investment of your time. But it’s worth it.
1,069 of 1,211 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2014
I think the treatment of this film is very unfair.
Yes, the film is vulgar, it is shocking, and it is offensive, but guess what......so are the characters. They are greedy, morally reprehensible characters, but this film does not reward them. In this film, they are the butt of the joke. A very angry joke. If you can't see that, and only see the cussing, the drug use, and the sex, then maybe this is not a film for you. I found it wildly funny, and I for one am happy Mr. Belfort, while not dismissing the film, is unhappy with various ways in which he was depicted (even though he still tries to get publicity from it). Unlike the system, this film does not let him off the hook.
I do think it's fair to say this film should be NC 17 though. How it got an R, I'll never know. That being said, any ad or poster for this film clearly states the following: This movie is rated R for "sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence." If you like angry, bitter satire, give it a shot. If you are part of the easily offended, and can't tolerate any of the content listed above, then do us all a favor, and don't watch. Don't even try. Don't put it on , only to take it out after an hour or less, and get on the website to write a review. If you can't watch the whole film, don't write a review. No one is brilliant enough to watch an hour or less of a 3 hour movie and completely judge it.
Had to chime a review because there are tons of people out there who just don't get it.
220 of 254 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2014
Not for the faint of heart by any means. DiCaprio and Hill are amazing in this film. Throughout the film my husband and I were laughing out loud over the sheer ridiculousness and over the top-ness of the characters' behavior. We have sick senses of humor but you just can't help it with some of the conversations with these guys.
While I thought it was a little long at 3 hours but that's my only gripe. For those who have given 1 or 2 stars because it's "porn" and non-stop debauchery- THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT! This movie wasn't created to make you actually LIKE these people, it's to show how greed, fortune, and success completely warps your morality and sense of self so far from what is "normal" that it's vile, disgusting, and corrupt. As the film goes on you can see the progression (or regression) of the characters. Think of it like Lord of the Flies- your perception of reality and right and wrong will warp based on your surroundings. About 2/3rds of the way into the film, DiCaprio says something along the lines of "Of course this is disgusting and wrong to the normal person. But we're not normal people and in our world we only want more at any cost."
If you've ever seen "The Smartest Guys in the Room" (the documentary on Enron), it hints at a lot of this type of behavior that is actually shown (rather than implied) in "Wolf of Wall Street." There's no warm up or "easing into" the raucous of this film, if you're offended in the first 5 minutes then you probably should turn it off. But don't just rate it low based on the first 5 minutes, you sissy. And FFS, don't let the kids watch this. I've known folks who have worked in the financial industry and even off of Wall Street they have described that the behavior in the film is common place (the term they used was, "you're compensated in hookers & blow"). That pretty much sums it up and this film is true to that.
Overall, I thought the film was fantastic. You have to look beyond what they're showing on the surface to truly appreciate it. The performances were well done and had Jordan Belfort not made a few missteps due to greed, he probably would not have been busted at all.
27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2014
Director Martin Scorsese’s ongoing collaboration with actor Leonardo DiCaprio has yielded highly entertaining, prestigious films (The Departed, The Aviator). Their latest venture is the true, astonishing tale of Wall Street crook Jordan Belfort whose appetites for money, sex and drugs are a detailed observation on greed and temptation.
An eager, young executive, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), experiences the Wall Street disaster of 1987 which wipes out investors and costs him a job. Anxious to bounce back, he discovers the art of selling unregulated penny stocks and starts his own brokerage. Soon he is making a lot of money often at the expense of low income earners but also wealthy clients, and with the help of some cronies including new follower, Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), begins to expand exponentially into a major force in the financial world. The emotional stress and pressure heighten his need for women, sex, drugs and then drugs upon drugs. As his excessive lifestyle spirals out of control, the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission begin investigating his company’s illegal activities that signals the beginning of the end.
DiCaprio (Inception) gives his all as the out-of-control executive whose wealth is surpassed only by his defiance and greed. It is interesting to contrast his younger, innocent broker with his later, drug addicted shark. With maniacal fervor, he inspires and rallies a company’s corporate culture. You are mesmerized by his bold, flamboyant salesman and yet, you look for any semblance of redeeming qualities. In a sense, Jordan is a metaphor for our corporate society’s love of money and its ultimate corruption.
Hill (Moneyball) really shows a good range as Belfort’s second in command. Can this be the same Jonah Hill who had a supporting role in Knocked Up? Matthew McConaughey has a memorable supporting role as a mentor to Belfort, and their scene together at a rooftop restaurant where McConaughey shows a ritual of self motivation is a hoot.
Margot Robbie is well cast as the beautiful woman who captures Jordan’s heart and more. Rob Reiner has an amusing supporting role as Jordan’s dad who sees the company as a sinking ship. In fact two other directors, Jon Favreau and Spike Jonze, have bit parts or cameos. Playing an FBI agent, Kyle Chandler, who has become the go-to actor for government types, is a good foil in his scenes with Jordan aboard a yacht.
There are some memorable vignettes such as the outrageous attempts to smuggle millions in cash to Europe, the crazy office parties, and an especially hilariously pathetic attempt by Jordan to drive home at the same moment he has a very bad drug reaction. When the justice system corners him, Jordan faces a decision not unlike the protagonist in Prince of the City. You know how this is going to go down, and when it does, it is an astonishing reversal of fortune.
At three hours, it is constantly engaging and well paced from start to finish courtesy of veteran editor Thelma Schoonmaker. The sweeping camera shots and rapid cuts show Scorsese at the top of his craft. He tells much of the film through DiCaprio as narrator and voiceover. In fact much of this film will remind you of the style and structure of his Good Fellas and Casino, and the ending recalls another Scorsese classic, The King of Comedy.
Make no mistake, despite excellent performances and a strong narrative, this film has scenes that are bordering on NC17; some scenes are so over the top in suggestiveness and explicitness that it would be hard to believe if it wasn’t true. The film’s depictions may lead some to question the filmmakers’ intent, but Scorsese, without passing judgment, wanted to honestly show greed and power at its worst in the boardroom and the bedroom. Consider The Wolf of Wall Street as a supremely effective, cautionary tale of abuse of wealth at a time when such behavior flourished unchecked. You might not like the passengers on this flight, but it is a fascinating ride.
110 of 149 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2014
I have great respect for the directorial prowess of Martin Scorsese and the acting ability of Leonardo Dicaprio. I just like watching their movies. For The Wolf of Wall Street, I enjoyed it and was bothered by it at the same time. Bothered because it was untrue to the tale of suffering in general. People don't pay because of their sins, in one lump sum, they pay by their sins day by day. An irrelevant fine point? I don't believe so. When suffering is not a part of the full matrix where so many people are damaged then there is danger a movie will be toxic to someone's sensibility. (Yes I worry about America)
This movie portrayed Belfort's climb as stainless steel excitement with only escalating misery and disintegration at the end. I think the seeds of the misery should have been shown more early on... in ways the audience could acutely feel. Dicaprio's smile is an effective Febrese and keeps the misery at bay.
The Wolf of Wall Street was the Animal House of Wall Street. And I wince because the victims are so easily forgotten in this drama. I found this movie was seductive octane for the greed I have in me. Scorsese would have made a bigger movie if the victims could have had a face. I wonder--- without this movie what would Belfort be to the public today? I am afraid despite all the morality lip service I hear about this movie---this movie will raise Belfort to some mythical stature. As a figure he will be the bad boy of Wall Street you might want to shake hands with because of how deviously clever he was? Belfort's tale is grim. Very grim. I don't want him to suffer more for what he did. I just hope this movie doesn't propagate more ignorance. Of special note: Matthew McConaughey's chest thumping scene--- Whew... Pure Gold. You could see the whole story in his drunk eyes.
34 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2014
The the multitude of other reviews have pretty much covered it, but here's what I'll say.
- If you've seen "Boiler Room," you basically know the story - "pump and dump" stock scheme ensnares brokers and clients both. This is the story as told by the "Michael and/or Jim" characters from Boiler Room, rather than the story told by one of the brokers. It does not make for a more interesting story, as told by the guy at the top who had more drugs, hookers and excess than the rest. What Boiler Room had, but this movie lacks, is the story of the average people who were swindled out of their life savings by slick brokers who only cared about commissions. There is absolutely no perspective given in "Wolf of Wall Street" about the people who were victimized by Belfort and his lumpy minions, and I think the story is incomplete without that perspective.
- Whoa, NELLY does this movie have a lot of naked people in it. Originally, I planned to see this in the theater with my parents - I am REALLY GLAD we decided against that idea as I would have been mortified, the entire time. WARNING to ALL sons and daughters, of any age, anywhere - this is not a movie to see with your parents, no matter how cool or open-minded they are. If you think Game of Thrones has a lot of nudity and sexual content? Watch this movie. It makes Game of Thrones look like Reading Rainbow.
- I have to really question glorifying the activities and attitudes of a guy like Jordan Belfort, in a THREE HOUR movie. There are some really funny parts to the movie, to be sure. I really enjoyed the interactions between Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill - Hill is honestly just great in this movie, he gave a stellar performance. I really liked Rob Reiner as Belfort's dad. But overall, the movie doesn't really make it seem like being a drug and sex addict with no sense of morals, decency or responsibility is a bad thing. There's no real denoument in which Belfort gets any kind of comeuppance whatsoever, barring maybe one scene (involving his wife) towards the end of the movie. Also, as has been pointed out, the movie glosses over the fact that Belfort sold out ALL of his friends and almost all of his colleagues, sang like a canary, and bought his light sentence by rolling over for the feds. I think, for the sake of responsible storytelling, the movie could have covered that in greater depth.
- Finally - this was WAY too much like Goodfellas. Come on - even DiCaprio's narration, at times, sounds almost exactly like Ray Liotta's voiceover narration in Goodfellas. It's like Scorsese just remade Goodfellas with an even more reprehensible main character, in a longer movie, with a LOT more naked people.
I'm not going to say I didn't enjoy the movie; I did, or at least parts of it. There's some dialogue and a few scenes I'm still laughing about, as I remember them. I just don't think this is a masterpiece of cinema the way some of Scorsese's other movies have been. The depictions of debauchery really did overshadow the storytelling and character development. I felt several times that just as the movie was really getting somewhere, WHOOP - never mind that, let's cut to a scene with more naked people! And I don't mind naked people in movies/TV as a rule, but there is a line when nudity/sexuality crosses the line from interesting/artistic to egregious and unnecessary. And I think this movie crosses that line. It's not so much that I find the salaciousness disturbing or amoral or whatever, just that whatever story was in there couldn't get told because the movie was so focused on depicting excess. After the third or fourth naked party scene - okay. We get it already.
It's worth a watch if you like DiCaprio - he's great in this. If you like Scorsese, you might be a little disappointed. If you need something you can watch with your mom - please, PLEASE pick something else. Your mom will thank you for it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2015
Well, what can I say, Scorsese is a master filmmaker whose films always offer something extraordinary in style, if not necessarily in content. The story is a familiar rehash of a few others like it about the evils of the financial industry since Oliver Stone's "Wall Street" and his narrative is a lot like "Good Fellows"; the voiceover narration, the development of the main character, and how he gets his comeuppance. I've seen the movie now three times from beginning to end and every time it feels like it should have ended twenty or thirty minutes earlier but it just kept on going like the Energizer Bunny. However, I just go with it every time because Jonah Hill's performance is truly his best that I've seen and DiCaprio holds his own. I would recommend the movie simply because it's well made in every aspect except story originality, but then again it's been a while since I saw a movie with an original storyline.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2014
Good acting, interesting story, but it could have been shortened by 30-40 minutes. The point that these people lived hedonistic irresponsible lives was pretty clear after the first drug and sex crazed scenes, I didn't really need to have that repeated a dozen more times.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2014
****SPOILERS***** KIND OF*******
Ok, I'm going to start off with how I love Scorsese's films. I've seen a lot of them, and I'd rather not get a bunch of feedback telling me how I didn't know what I was getting into when I watched Wolf of Wall Street. Goodfella's is one of my favorite movies of all time. Gangs of NY, awesome. But this movie doesn't come close to his other movies. So...where do I start?
I'll start with this, it was plotless. Unless you count debauchery as a plot. And for all of you thinking, that is a plot. No, it's not. It can be part of the main character or characters, showing you what motivates them. It can even be a plot point, showing that after a night of indulgence the main character spins out of control. But excess, over indulgence, debauchery, or whatever you like to call it, can only take a movie so far. There MUST be a plot. And clearly the plot of this movie wasn't to show Jordan's ultimate downfall, so I don't know what the point of a three hour movie about some guy's greed is supposed to be, or how that was supposed to be interesting.
I didn't think it glamorized drug use, or indiscriminate sex with prostitutes, or stealing (which was touched on very little). The fact that this guy talked about getting a penicillin shot after his bachelor party pretty much sums up who he is. Which is a sociopath, I might add; look it up, if this guy has ever seen a psychiatrist I'm sure he's been informed he's a sociopath. A point I would have loved for Scorsese to expand upon.
Scorsese clearly loves DiCaprio, and I get that. He can be a very good actor, (though I fear he is falling into the so famous I can't see the character he's portraying, but that's just me.) Scorsese's infatuation had us watching long, needlessly drawn out scenes of this character's flaws and addictions. As if trying to show us how horrible this guy is by ramming it down our throats for three hours. I got that this Jordan guy was an f up. I got that point 45 minutes into the movie. Now get on with the story, why don't you?!
After a long while I wondered when the FBI was going to make an appearance. When was the Scorsese tension arriving? Where was that feeling of, here it comes? And as far as I can tell, the only real happening in Jordan's life that even made a remote dent in his thought process was when he almost drowned on his sinking yacht. A revelation that ate up a mere 5 minutes of screen time!! That incident is what made Jordan go into rehab. We got a narration explanation about how he felt instead of a few scenes of clarity. Please director, show don't tell. Which brings me to the narration. It wasn't strange for Scorsese to have narration. He's done it before, and usually uses it well. But narration, AND breaking the fourth wall? To me personally, it was odd and off putting, and took me right out of the film I didn't necessarily want to be in. I don't know what the purpose of doing that was. Was I supposed to 'feel' more for this guy, because he was talking to me?
In the end, Jordan WhateverHisName was no different than he was in the beginning. A crucial component in every good movie or book, good to bad, bad to good. There needs to be a transformation. Punching his wife in the stomach, after he'd been sober for two years, after she asked him for a divorce, showed how horrifically unchanged this guy is, and probably ever will be.
And what was the FBI on the subway scene about? Was he trying to point out that civil servants have less money, so much less they need to take the EL? I'm quite sure the officer could afford a car. Was he trying to say, yeah, being poor is sh*te? I didn't get that last bit.
So NO, I didn't like the film, just because it made me smile two times. I wouldn't recommend it, unless you want to see proof of an overindulging director. And I'm being generous with two stars...I'm giving it because the acting was well done, and over the top. Funnily enough, the only character I liked was the drug dealer Brad. Who didn't get much screen time. :)
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2014
It started out to be funny, interesting, and entertaining, but too much over the top excess for way too long soon became intolerably boring. The only saving grace was DiCaprio's climb to the top. The scenes where he tries smoking something funny with a new recruit, and where he teaches his new recruits how to sell on the phone-his words to the customer were one thing, his actions giving a message to the recruits were something else entirely-were very funny, and I was prepared for a nice time the rest of the way. However, that, unfortunately, didn't happen. After the big money started to roll in, it degenerated into ever more outlandish ways to use it for sillier and sillier extravaganzas, and the all too familiar young men with too much money scenarios that became tiring very quickly.
So I turned it off and didn't bother to finish watching, and so far I can see no reason why that was a mistake. Maybe I'm just too old-I think younger viewers not as familiar with, and thus better able to enjoy, the fantasy of having unlimited funds, would probably like it much more than I did.