Viau’s View/Scott Viau
Greed, drugs, sex, prostitution, more drugs, FBI agents, more sex, money and even more drugs can all be found in the latest offering from legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s newest movie “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a story of a stock broker who used deceptive means to garner himself and his employees millions. It’s a return to form for Scorsese and his best film since 2007’s “The Departed.”
Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an honest man who’s just trying to make ends meet. Once he lands a job as a stock broker, the crash of 1987 leads to him losing his job. With demand for stock brokers coming to a halt, Belfort manages to get a job at a small company that spends its time selling penny stocks, but Belfort believes he can make more money by inflating the worth of these stocks to those who are interested in buying. His scheme works and lands him millions in dollars, but it also brings him to the attention of the FBI.
“Wolf” is Scorsese’s funniest movie in years – it’s silly, irreverent, depraved and downright entertaining. Despite the film’s running time, which clocks in at three hours, it doesn’t seem that long, as it’s meticulously paced (as most of Scorsese’s films are). There are a few scenes that could have been trimmed, especially the one with the quaalude overdose, but it probably wouldn’t have made too much of a difference.
DiCaprio gives an incredible performance as Belfort and he’ll probably be nominated for an Oscar this year, but like every other time he’s been nominated, he’ll more than likely go home empty handed. The real scene stealer here is Jonah Hill, who is phenomenal in his role as Donnie Azoff, Belfort’s right hand man. Not only does Hill deserve to be nominated for his role, he absolutely deserves to win. The truth is there’s not a bad performance in the bunch. Everyone pulls his or her own weight well, even Matthew McConaughey, who is in the film for a total of about two minutes, but still manages to make a lasting impression.
My only qualm is that the movie glorifies Belfort and his crimes. While I’m sure there aren’t a lot of people out there who are going to get upset about rich people being taken for a ride, Belfort’s victims did not fall only into the category of wealthy. In the beginning of the film, Belfort is shown selling stocks he knows to have little value to people who can’t afford to bet wildly, but he sells the penny stocks to them aggressively, taking money out of their pocket and putting it directly into his own. But if you’re going to play the stock market, you must know when to say no so those that believed Belfort are just as much at fault as Belfort himself … to an extent, at least.
“Wolf” isn’t for people who are easily offended as there is excessive nudity and swearing, but despite that, or perhaps because of it, it’s a wild ride from beginning to end.