The Wolf of Wall Street is a film directed by Martin Scorsese, with a screenplay written by Terence Winter. The film tells the true-life story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a New York stockbroker in the late 1980s who makes a rapid rise to Wall Street royalty with the founding of his brokerage firm, Stratton Oakmont. However, Belfort reaches this skyscraper affluence through greed, corruption, and downright illegalities. Before long, the entire world comes crashing down on Belfort and his securities fraud posse.
Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, and over the years, he has particularly become the king of mob movies. Between Goodfellas and The Departed, two of my all-time favorite films, Scorsese has developed a top-flight reputation in this genre. In The Wolf of Wall Street, he adds to his decorous list of accomplishments a film with more sex, drugs, and crime (the white-collar variety, mostly) than any of his before. The film itself has been on the receiving end of a wide assortment of controversies, ranging from complaints about his glorification of such a dreadful subject matter to uproars about the excessive nudity and foul language. For me personally, none of those things bothered me one bit when I watched this movie in theaters—in fact, I went back and saw it a second time! In many films, the overload of sex, drugs, and F-bombs might be too overzealous, but Scorsese makes it work. He does not include sex and nudity just to include sex and nudity; Scorsese meticulously weaves these elements into the story to advance the plot and make the film more realistic. For that, I will never bat an eye.
Every single actor throughout the entire movie gives a well-crafted performance, and this greatly benefits the fluidity of the film. Leonardo DiCaprio gives one of the grandest performances of his entire career as Jordan Belfort, and I was utterly pleased to see him receive some Oscar recognition. This is Leo’s fifth collaboration with Scorsese, beginning with Gangs of New York in 2002, and their partnership is one of the best in the business. DiCaprio is an insanely talented actor, but his best work always seems to come out of Scorsese flicks, and his portrayal of the drug/money-addicted Belfort is absolutely astounding, in all the best ways. My favorite scene from the entire film features Leo high on Quaaludes attempting to reach his car from the country club doors—if you have not seen this film, this scene alone makes it worth the watch. Jonah Hill also gives a wonderful performance, and even though he broke out in the Oscar world with 2011’s Moneyball, this is by far the best job Hill has ever done in a film. In many interviews, Hill credits this as his dream role because his favorite actor is Leo and his favorite director is Scorsese; however, he never seems star struck on the screen, and his portrayal of Donnie Azoff is absolutely hilarious and riveting.
The hidden gem in this movie is the breakout supporting performance by newcomer Margot Robbie as Belfort’s wife Naomi. Robbie, an Australian native, absolutely nails the Brooklyn accent, and if you had no clue of her Aussie roots, you would NEVER believe she was not from New York—her accent is THAT good. Aside from the accent, Robbie gives a stellar performance, and I hope to see a lot more from her in the near future.
Terence Winter took the wild and outlandish true story of Jordan Belfort’s rise to the pinnacle of Wall Street and turned it into one of the finest screenplays of 2013. Winter’s incredible script, along with Scorsese’s genius filmmaking and the ensemble cast’s award-worthy performances, has made The Wolf of Wall Street one of 2013’s finest exports. The Wolf of Wall Street is rated R for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence.
The Wolf of Wall Street trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iszwuX1AK6A
Academy Award nominations for The Wolf of Wall Street:
Best Picture (Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joey McFarland, and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers)
Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio)
Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill)
Best Director (Martin Scorsese)
Best Adapted Screenplay (Terence Winter)
Previous movies on the countdown of the Top 15 Films of the Year:
6. The World’s End
7. American Hustle
8. The Spectacular Now
10. Captain Phillips
13. Fruitvale Station
14. The Place Beyond the Pines
15. Dallas Buyers Club