AndrewJS’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Wolf of Wall Street is so good simply because it’s so entertaining. Why is it entertaining? Simply because it is. It’s a story that’s been told a thousand times before. A sly guy finds a way to climb his way to the top of an alluring world or sex, drugs and everything in between, only to reach an inevitable peak and struggle to hold on. Scorsese has nothing new to say here. So why is this story still so appealing? I have no idea. It just is.
Wolf is enthralling for every minute of its nearly 3 hours. We can’t look away, despite the fact that there’s really nothing happening on screen, except a continues cycle of manipulation, scamming and excessive spending. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort is just as shallow, yet DiCaprio seems to thrive off the fact that no matter how immoral of a man Belfort may be, the audience can’t turn away from the charm of a smarmy multi-millionaire.
And that’s about it. Wolf doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not. It doesn’t have much to offer in terms satire or commentary. It’s a very self-aware participant in all the craziness going on, and thrives in it. If it proves anything, it’s that no matter how terrible and unworthy of respect our rationale tells us a person is, rich douchebags are going to hold our attention. In our defense though, we seem to be just as intrigued watching them fall apart.