“Cocaine and sex – that’s The Wolf of Wall Street,” is the gist of the message I heard about the Oscar-nominated movie before I finally saw it this weekend. Yep, there was a ton of both, and like the one-line review implies, the movie was a fast, wild ride that was a heck of a lot of fun to watch.
Oscar-nominated Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a real-life swindler who worked his way up the ranks of Wall Street, eventually opening up his own company, Stratton Oakmont, in the 1980s. The business model is selling losing stocks to wealthy people for high commissions – a sort of, “Rob from the rich, give to the stock broker,” model.
Amid all the shady business dealings, Belfort enjoys sleeping with prostitutes and snorting cocaine. He also has a hot wife and a young child, making viewers wonder just how much he values certain things in life and why.
Despite its three-hour run time, the movie is fast-paced and exciting throughout. It’s filled with hysterical moments, and no matter how serious his role is, Oscar-nominated supporting actor Jonah Hill brings humor to whatever character he’s playing – even when it’s a married-to-his-cousin dirtbag. The movie has a wonderful ensemble of actors and characters – from the hair piece-wearing broker, to the FBI agent trying to crack the case – which helps it move along quite nicely.
Still, I think it would have been a better movie if it had been only two hours. Oscar-nominated director Martin Scorsese must have really wanted to give audience members a detailed look into what being one of these brokers was like. For example, a scene where a group of them discusses the logistics of throwing a little person at a target for an office party goes on for five minutes. Seriously.
There are other similarly drawn-out scenes that could have been cut immensely – and may have made an even bigger impact if they were.
Even though it was really long, The Wolf of Wall Street was excellent. The cinematography made viewers feel like they were part of the salacious action, and it was an amusing look at a part of recent history. Keep an eye out during the very last scene – the camera zooms in on the real Belfort. Despite his crimes, there’s no doubt Belfort was an amazing salesperson, and the movie just makes me want to read his memoir that inspired it, of the same name.