If your idea of entertainment is watching a crowd of mostly naked people indulging in continual sexual orgies, all together at parties and in their offices, popping Quaaludes and sniffing endless lines of coke and freaking out afterwards, masturbating in public at the sight of a beautiful woman, standing on a desk top and urinating into a wastebasket, shoving candles up a man’s anus, and Leonardo DiCaprio licking and pawing and hitting on every female that crosses his path, then “The Wolf of Wall Street” is the film for you — all three hours of it!
Perhaps director Martin Scorsese believed that if this film were pitched as a comedy the audience would guffaw its way through it. And many of them did. (But, ironically, this film is classified as a “documentary” on Fandango.)
It wasn’t that it was shocking, it was just distasteful. And pointless.
Repeating everything over and over didn’t make it more fascinating. Can sex really be that tedious?
On the other hand, the Wall Street part of the story was truly engaging, albeit unnerving. With DiCaprio berating and exhorting them every step of the way, a bunch of semi-literate losers were transmogrified into a smooth-talking, persuasive team of successful stockbrokers, screwing every client in the day and any woman at night.
DiCaprio dominated every scene he was in (and that was all of them), delivering motivational speeches, pep rally grunts, and a penchant for uninhibited wackiness that he’s never demonstrated before. He was Gatsby turned inside out.
DiCaprio’s sidekick in this endeavor was Jonah Hill, and he supplied most of the “comedy.” As did Matthew McConaughey, in a brief cameo, explaining everything one needed to know in order to maintain his cool in the pressured atmosphere of Wall Street.
Margot Robbie underplayed the role of DiCaprio’s compliant wife and Rob Reiner overplayed the role of DiCaprio’s father. He was over the top and a totally unnecessary addition to the story.
The assorted stockbrokers, who started out pitching penny stocks, worked their way up to multi-million dollar transactions and fancy clothes and cars, but you wouldn’t want to take their calls on your iPhone, mostly because it was literally impossible for them to construct a sentence without the use of the “f” word. (The word was used 506 times in the course of the movie, a new all-time record for f-bombs, according to the critics who counted them.) But also because they would invent all sorts of enticements to get you to buy whatever junk they were pushing that day.
Stock fraud was the game they played and eventually it all unraveled, thanks to the persistence of a “straight arrow” FBI agent, played by Kyle Chandler, who couldn’t be bribed.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” comes from a book of the same name by Jordan Belfort, and DiCaprio uses Belfort’s name for his character.
The others in the film, all real people from Belfort’s apparently “true story,” were given new names. Screenwriter Terence Winter fashioned the whole thing into this film that many have called, “One of the best of 2013.” Who are those people?
“The Wolf of Wall Street” is now playing in theatres. You’d be hard-pressed to avoid it.
Cynthia Citron can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.