A Look through The Wolf of Wall Street
The Wolf of Wall Street—Martin Scorsese's latest offering to the world of cinema—is a well-shot, fast-paced look at one man's rise and fall in the high-stakes world of stock market corruption. At the heart of this film is a strong performance by Leonardo DiCaprio, who brings Jordan Belfort to life.
Based on Belfort's memoirs, the film looks at the rise of a young stockbroker who rebounds from an early failure to start a highly successful investment firm. As he accrues millions, Belfort loses himself in a world of drug addiction, multiple affairs with coworkers and prostitutes, and money laundering. What follows is a slow breakdown as Belfort attempts to dodge investigations by the FBI and the SEC while trying to keep his business and his pleasure-seeking lifestyle afloat.
While DiCaprio performs brilliantly as Belfort, there are other tributes have to given to co-stars like Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey, who portray Belfort's mentor figures in the sleazy Wall Street environment. Kyle Chandler (of Super 8 and Grey's Anatomy fame) also provides a subtle counterpoint as FBI Agent Patrick Denham, the grim contrast to the protagonist's wild life.
Besides tapping into Wall Street's history during the Nineties and playing off a modern audience's feelings about the recession, the film follows on other notable trends in cinema. It follows on the display of conspicuous consumption that we saw in Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby. And though it didn't deliver, Scorsese was originally going to shoot the whole film digitally as he did with his recent animated feature Hugo. Sadly, the film was shot in traditional 2D, though the director's trademark style shines through on every scene.
What works in favor of The Wolf of Wall Street is its irreverence, refusing to take its lavish parties seriously and never giving Belfort (or the audience) a chance to stop and pull back from the edge. DiCaprio and Scorsese take us over the edge and all the way to the bottom, turning what would otherwise be a tragic tale of success and loss into a stockbroker's adventure.
Image by Ma_Co2013 on Flickr