v strife’s review published on Letterboxd:
My favorite part is when Leonardo Dicaprio breaks into dance and shouts out “ring-ding-ding-ding-dingedringeding”. Just kidding, that doesn’t happen. However, it wouldn’t be out of line with some of the scenes in this movie if it did. The Wolf in Wall Street is the most entertaining movie of the year, but to a fault. The narrative is wild and loose; there seems to be as much comedy as there is drama.
The best parts of the film are easily the performances. Leonardo Dicaprio is great, portraying Jordan Belfort as a man who is as charming as he is morally bankrupt. The trick to his performance is that he wants to make us watch him, yet also condemn what we’re watching; he pulls it off. Jonah Hill does a great job at playing Jordan’s weird and enthusiastic wingman. One thing about the cast that bothers me is the portrayal of women. They’re relegated to objects that nag at the male characters and are given little else to do.
The tone of the film is also messy. At about three hours, the film shifts between glamorizing Belfort’s lifestyle while also trying to condemn it. The problem with the condemnation is that the film has too much fun with some of Jordan’s sexual and drug oriented escapades. There are extended comedic sequence, such as one where Belfort is trying to get in his car while on drugs, that indulges too much in how funny the situations are. However, the point of the film may be to highlight the excessive ridiculousness of Belfort’s life through dark comedy.
Although my eyes were glued to the screen because of Scorsese’s stylistic camera and the electric performances, I’m not sure about the moral compass of the film. The movie is indulgent, Belfort’s excess may have rubbed off on the filmmaking.