How do I feel about The Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Kyle Chandler (coach! <3), directed by the-more-cursing-the-better Martin Scorsese? It was totally, completely, 1000% should-win-the-Oscar AWESOME. It blew me away. (Pun intended.)
Everyone knows by now this movie is the true story of ex-Wall Streeter Jordan Belfort illegally making tons of money in the 80s/90s while doing a whole lot of drugs and sleeping with a whole lot of women. In the film we go from Jordan’s rather bizarre first day on the job — with a pep talk from Mr. All Right All Right All Right himself, Matthew McConaughey — to recovering from Black Monday, to setting up his own shop selling sketchy “penny stocks”, to inevitably getting caught by the FBI. Along the way he develops an addiction to cocaine, Quaaludes, alcohol and, perhaps most of all, sex. He cheats on his wife with countless women — many of them paid professionals and often in the office, during work hours — and eventually leaves her for Naomi, who, body-wise, is everything I aspire to look like when I go to the gym after work every day. At some point Jordan does get “clean”, or as clean as you can be when you’ve lived that kind of life for so long, and tries to cooperate with the FBI to shorten his prison sentence, but that of course backfires. Apparently, the real Mr. Belfort still owes large sums of money to the government. Or so I heard.
I think Scorsese did a great job not making the viewer feel sympathy for Jordan in any way shape or form. He was in many ways a genius, but he was a pig and deserved everything he got, if not worse. At no point in the movie do you feel bad for him — not when Naomi leaves him, not when he has to turn in his “friends”, not when they drag him away to prison, not even in the final scene where he’s teaching a lame business class in New Zealand. Scorsese didn’t “glamorize” Jordan’s career, which some have accused him of, rather he made it look absolutely insane and unacceptable. Perhaps some people look at that and see glamour, but I was disgusted (albeit very entertained) by the behavior of Jordan and his colleagues. (Side note: My almost-80-year-old aunt saw the movie before I did and gave me her review, so the whole time I was watching I thought of her saying “I just couldn’t believe the DEEDS they were doing!”)
In comparison to the other Best Picture contender, American Hustle, Wolf has a lot more oomph and really wows the audience in terms of “Oh dear Lord this sh!t really happened in real life to real people this is such a crazy story”. Several scenes could have been cut in half and the movie would be just as good if not better, but overall I think the film is stellar. Especially Leo — that scene with him and the FBI agent (coach! <3) on his boat is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time, and I’m still laughing at him on the plane to Switzerland humping the flight attendant. Seriously, if he doesn’t win the friggin’ Oscar for this, there is just no hope.