Daniel Kibbe’s review published on Letterboxd:
Martin Scorsese taps into the deplorable cycle that runs our country in the best way possible. He examines it from a stylized and darkly comedic lens; satirizing and condemning the actions of Jordan Belfort. Portrayed perfectly by Leonardo DiCaprio, Belfort is a deplorable human being that tries to become more than the "pond scum" that he is when starting on Wall Street. And then he wants more. And more. And more. The cycle of greed; rise and downfall is what The Wolf of Wall Street is all about - and Scorsese nails it.
The acting in the film is excellent. As stated, DiCaprio is brilliant as Belfort, never having a weak moment, and pulling off some incredible feats of physical characterization as well as emotion. The rest of the ensemble is terrific as well, Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie being standouts - as Belfort's business partner/friend and wife respectively.
The plot itself is wildy extravagant - a smart choice by Scorsese. The film is incredibly entertaining, but lacks nothing in subtext. The chronicle of Jordan Belfort is memorable and unique, and it never drags throughout its 3-hour runtime. The time flies.
What Wolf does best is in its commentary on the economy of America - especially hammering the point home in the film's final scene. Part satire and part straight condemnation; Scorsese takes a stab at sleazy Wall Street moguls, who grow, crash, and still lead others on to follow their lifestyle. It's a cycle.
As always, with a Scorsese film, the soundtrack is great and the editing is phenomenal. The cinematography is pristine, and the script is incredible. So many great lines of dialogue. So many scenes are so memorable. Tons of great stuff throughout.
The year's best film is equally important and entertaining. Funny and cynical; The Wolf of Wall Street is truly brilliant.