Andy Summers’s review published on Letterboxd:
Jordan Belfort, the subject of Martin Scorsese's profanity filled film about his life, is truly something else. If only half of this story is true then this guy led a life that made the decadence of the Romans look like they were Amish. Money, greed, drugs, sex, this man had it all, and did it all like no other.
Belfort is played with a maniacal but captivating exuberance by Leonardo DiCaprio in yet another Oscar nominated performance that is quite remarkable. From the outset this feels like Goodfellas, only with stockbrokers instead of gangsters, as DiCaprio narrates his life of debauchery amid the pin-striped suits of Wall Street. Backed by some big names (Matthew McConaughey), some interesting cameos (Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley), and an extraordinary turn from Jonah Hill, this 3 hour film flies past in the flash of a titty or a snort of coke. It's hedonistic and shows the basic greed of human nature that allows the protagonists to go to the extreme in terms of sex, drugs and lifestyle choices. Big houses, fast cars, mountains of cocaine, all at the expense of the ordinary Joe Schmo trying to make it big on the stock-market. We shouldn't be surprised by the excess, we've seen it for ourselves with Bankers bonuses here and abroad that resulted in the economic crash of 2008. This of course is done much much bigger than those amateurs and with real style albeit fraudulently.
DiCaprio's Belfort is one of those characters that doesn't know when enough is enough. Every excess available leads further down the rabbit-hole towards either prosecution or death, but what a ride. It's one of those films that shocks you with it's glorification of greed and the excessive lifestyle of what real wealth can bring you. There's plenty of nudity here, plenty of drug-taking, and more laughs than there really should be. The Quaalude incident, Jonah Hill wanking at a party, and the dwarf throwing and hookers in the office, all add to the enjoyment and hype provided by a story that's here to shock. We should despise these people, but watching it unfold you can't help but be a little envious at what they get up to.
Scorsese always entertains. The more gritty, the more profane the better as far as I'm concerned. I fell in love with Goodfellas on a first watch and this had just the same reaction. This isn't for everyone, my mother-in-law has asked to borrow my Blu-ray but she's more of a Hugo fan than Casino or The Departed, so I doubt she'll be getting it. DiCaprio again was terrific and this almost erased the memory of that Gatsby shit he did last year and it must just be a matter of time before the Academy gives him that statuette he deserves. Oh and did anyone notice Ethan Suplee? He looked like someone had cut him in half.