The Wolf of Wall Street
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Favreau, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jean Dujardin, Pj Byrne, Kenneth Choi
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Run Time: 180
Genre: Biography/ Comedy/ Crime
Opens December 25th
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
Also opening on Christmas day is the latest film from director Martin Scorsese. “The Wolf of Wall Street” is Scorsese's fifth collaboration with actor Leonardo DiCaprio, based off the book by convicted ex-stockbroker Jordan Belfort. Will audiences flock to theaters to see a film about power, greed, sex, drugs and overall debauchery? Or will it get lost amongst all the other holiday releases?
Based on the true story of New York stockbroker dubbed “The Wolf of Wall Street”, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) was a man who went from rags to riches in a very short time by duping people out of their hard earned money. Following his start at a well known brokerage firm on Wall Street in the late 1980’s, Jordan’s mentor Mark Hanna (Matthew McConneghy) taught him the ropes of what he would expand on to build his own fortune.
On his first day as a full blown stockbroker was the day the stock market crashed in 1987. Out of a job and not sure what to do, Jordan found a place that was hiring “stockbrokers” out in the suburbs. Turns out this place sold penny stocks, which Jordan quickly figured out how to get the maximum amount of money from middle class people. Being the savvy entrepreneur, Jordan conjured up a “Business Plan” to use the same tactics to go after the big fish upper class. Enlisting Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) and a few other guys he knew from his younger days, Jordan formed Stratton Oakmont, Inc., a brokerage firm which traded billions of dollars, including raising equity for shoe designer Steve Madden.
Thanks to his flashy parties, excessive drug use and boneheaded compadres, Jordan found himself on the FBI watchlist for securities fraud. Unwilling to cooperate, Jordan finds himself in further trouble when he tries to avoid the investigation and enlists people to cover for him. It’s a matter of time before the house of cards Jordan built for himself, family and employees will tumble, but how many people will be willing to take the fall for Jordan?
This is a strange choice for Scorsese. Although it takes on the edgy material of stock fraud, drugs, orgies, cheating scandals and unscrupulous characters, it’s odd to see so much comedy in a Scorsese film. Perhaps it was just odd scheduling for DiCaprio this year to have his role as a different millionaire in “The Great Gatsby” open earlier this year, but he expands on that romanticized role of Gatsby and pumps it up with some much cocaine and greed that he Gordon Gecko-ized Jay Gatsby. On the other hand, Jonah Hill is extremely creepy as Jordan’s sidekick Donnie Azoff. His over-sized veneers and oddly sexual tendencies are a stand out among the strange cast of characters in this black comedy. The women in the film albeit pretty are not that memorable as it’s hard to compete with DiCaprio and Hill’s drug filled rants and antics. Although it clocks in at three hours, it hardly feels that long since the film follows a decent pace and material is incredulous that it keeps the viewer engaged the whole time. “The Wolf of Wall Street” opens nationwide starting Wednesday December 25,2013.