The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street ★★★

Leonardo hasn't been this mentally handicapped since What's Eating Gilbert Grape, and I mean that both literally and figuratively. The Wolf of Wall Street is strange, sometimes fascinating, only a few times hilarious, but often just a very odd and special ode to the dangers of capitalism.

Jordan Belfort is the greediest bastard you can imagine. He lost it big on Wall Street and gained the nickname The Wolf of Wall Street, but eventually started his own stockbrokerage firm, a completely insane and greedy place full of orgies, drugs, shady dealings and more money than anyone could count. But the feds were always a step behind in his odd story, one way too crazy to be true, right? Right?

If The Wolf of Wall Street is meant to be a comedy, it certainly doesn't win a flawless victory. I didn't laugh a single time for the first 20 or 30 minutes, but then I slowly began to do so every now and then, sometimes I actually had some very good laughs, but way too few overall. It's a bit on the nose, tossing cursewords and excessive behaviour around (the orgies, what?), with odd sex scenes and fully naked women left and right (hey, I certainly don't mind them, but one or two per movie is quite enough Marty, we get the point). DiCaprio certainly gives it 110% in his total madness, it's an absolutely crazy parody of wealth and greed and excess, but that's just the thing - he may as well be wearing a clown suit, it's that cartoony and over the top at times. Most times actually.

There's enough content to keep you hooked for a solid 90 minutes, possibly even two hours, but I frankly found myself thinking that it was just strange. Is it drama, parody, thriller? While it's easy to laugh at the characters it's very hard to laugh with them, and the movie leapfrogs swiftly from dumb to graphic to funny to horrible and back. The jokes often feel like they're improvised, and not in a good way. Scenes about midgets and blowjobs and who knows what all else kind of nonsense go on for far too long, and I feel that the entire movie would benefit from being chopped down quite a bit. There's the introduction, the success story, and the complications, all the rest is just drugs and wives and naked..hookers. I suppose men will always kneel and beg before two things in this world, it could've been summed up neater and handled a lot more elegantly though.

It's rare that you'll sit and watch a movie wondering just what the hell you are looking at, and then a scene will be so bizarre or overstated that it actually becomes funny as you are watching it. It's a completely unintentional thing, but a graphic argument between Jordan and his wife was suddenly something to laugh at and I can't even begin to describe why, it was just so..weird. He's messed up, we understand, do we have to watch him and his wife trade blows for like 15 minutes straight? I think perhaps old Marty is treating it like some gangster epic when it's just the story of one man that was dumb and greedy. Very dumb and very very greedy.

Overall The Wolf of Wall Street is enjoyable, and I get the point, greed will be your downfall (a theme Leo has been exploring a lot lately), I think Scorsese has just blown it way out of proportion and taken it all a bit literally. When you sit and watch people have gangbangs in the office for three hours, are you meant to laugh and say "oh, that's so typical of those Wall Street types", or be mortified?

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