Movie Review: The Wolf of Wall Street


The Wolf of Wall Street is the fifth pairing of director Martin Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio as they tell the absolutely insane true story of stock broker Jordan Belfort’s epic and over the top rise to the peak of Wall Street in the late 80s and early 90s.

Scorsese Still Has It

At age 71, it’s kind of amazing that director Scorsese is still able to make a film as incredible as The Wolf of Wall Street.

Of course, this is the director of Goodfellas after all. Like that aforementioned masterpiece, Scorsese returns to the world of crime with Wolf. This time though, there is much more focus on excess. Belfort’s goal was always to be rich, but even he couldn’t imagine just how much money and how crazy his shenanigans would get.

If you’ve seen that other movie about Wall Street that also happens to be about crime, corruption and drugs in late 80s New York, then you have an idea of exactly how Belfort made his riches. But director Scorsese is less interested in how Belfort committed the crime and focuses more on his outlandish lifestyle.

Belfort and his co-workers had sex and did drugs like their lives depended on it, often in their own workplace and during office hours. Pretty much everything about The Wolf of Wall Street screams excess, from its three hour run-time all the way to co-star Jonah Hill’s comically large teeth. And that’s the point of course. These guys lived harder and larger than anyone could possibly imagine, all while stealing and dealing as much as they could.

Surprisingly Funny, Though Not A Comedy

Despite being a film about crime and corruption, The Wolf of Wall Street actually manages to be one of the funniest films of the year.

These guys go so over the top so quickly, that one can’t help but laugh.

It’s not quite fair to call the film a comedy, as the film has plenty of the drama and violence that we expect from any good Scorsese crime picture. There is however, one particular extended sequence involving DiCaprio, Hill and Quaaludes that should honestly go down in slapstick comedy history.

It’s important to note that Scorsese never forgets that these guys are criminals. They got to the top by stealing, plain and simple, and their actions and behavior are never portrayed as being ok.

I’ve noticed there has been some controversy that The Wolf of Wall Street is glorifying Belfort’s behavior, and that’s just not true. Scorsese simply tells it like it is. Also, being a masterful storyteller, he is able to let you laugh at the lunacy going on, but he is also able to get you furious at what you’re watching. Of course it’s infuriating that these guys got away with so much for so long. And Scorsese is trying to tell us that that’s the point. Just brilliant.

The Wolf of Wall Street: One Of The Year’s Best

The Wolf of Wall Street is easily one of my favorite movies to come out this year. DiCaprio and Hill are out of this world good, and the film’s three hour run-time goes by like it’s half that. I also think I can safely say this film won’t be for everyone, as this is one of the hardest R rated mainstream Hollywood films I’ve ever seen. I hope the subject matter and excess doesn’t scare you away though, because The Wolf of Wall Street is an exhilarating and hilarious piece of filmmaking that rates right up there with the best of Martin Scorsese.


Review by Jordan Hunt for CaryCitizen. Read more Movie Reviews.

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  1. Carson
    Carson says:

    My question is — is this movie doing anything new? At this point, “white Wall Street conmen experience meteoric rise and disgraceful plummet, as accompanied by prostitutes and drugs; cause us to question our own social values” isn’t new ground to tread. In a year where we had some pretty cool and unusual things happening in mainstream cinema (an animated “princess” movie where the most important relationship was between two sisters, a space thriller whose face was a middle-aged woman, a high-grossing action movie starring a young woman, a sci-fi blockbuster where 2/3 leads were NOT white men, a female buddy-cop movie), this just seems….tired. And honestly, nothing in this review is making me think the movie is going to ask any questions that haven’t been asked a million times, in similar explorations. Pass, sorry.

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