wed 12/08/2020

DVD: The Wolf of Wall Street | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: The Wolf of Wall Street

DVD: The Wolf of Wall Street

Scorsese and DiCaprio on the form of their lives

The Wolf chucks dollars at a couple of passing policemen

It’s stockbroker Goodfellas, basically. If you enjoyed Martin Scorsese’s pacey, flashy, beautifully shot ensemble gangster flicks, Goodfellas and Casino, there’s little doubt you’ll enjoy this. Here the master director, absolutely on fire, has his cake and eats it with the “based-on-a-true-story” saga of corrupt stockbroker Jordan Belfort’s rise and fall. The central character, played with audacious, astounding flare by Leonardo DiCaprio, exudes charisma from every pore and guzzles pleasure by the raw ton, taking no prisoners. While Belfort is a ruthless, unpleasant protagonist, the sort of man who causes utter misery through his selfishness, the viewer cannot help but clamber aboard Scorsese and DiCaprio’s demented rollercoaster and root for his sheer lust for life.

The comic actor Jonah Hill also outdoes himself as Belfort’s sidekick Donnie Azoff. Where Belfort is messianic and mesmeric, Azoff is a slobby, venal loser riding the gravy train. Their story takes Belfort from his start at high class brokers LF Rothschild, through the crash of 1987 and onto his own outfit Stratton Oakmont, with their wildly successful “pump and dump” securities fraud schemes, eventually reaching an inevitable and unhappy unravelling. The details paint a picture of a warped, morally corrupt, male culture but the film is primarily a monstrous tale of hubris, played out at maximum extravagance, often for great big roaring laughs, and is utterly gripping for its entire three hours, a visual cacophony of cocaine, sex, money and excess. The sequence where Belmont come unstuck taking ancient Quaaludes he mistakenly presumed had lost their potency, before driving his Porsche and having a wasted ruck with Azoff, is as shocking, entertaining and riveting as anything I’ve seen in any film for a long time.

There are other great performances too, of course, notably Australian actress Margot Robbie as Belfort’s wife Naomi and a scenery-annihilating cameo by Matthew McConaughey as the Rothschild broker who shows Belmont the ropes. The restaurant scene alone, where DiCaprio takes advice from McConaughey, is more fun than most films manage end-to-end. This is hyperactive, over-the-top film-making constructed with the smash’n’grab zest of a true cinematic genius. I can’t recommend it enough.

There are no extras on the DVD but the Blu-ray edition comes with a “making of” documentary, The Wolf Pack, a featurette called Running Wild about the pre-production process, and a round-table featuring DiCaprio, Scorsese, Hill, etc, discussing the movie.

Overleaf: Watch the trailer

The restaurant scene alone, where DiCaprio takes advice from McConaughey, is more fun than most films manage end-to-end

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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