Steadfastly exuding its purposefully salacious substance, The Wolf of Wall Street‘s key players in front of and behind the camera do wonders to ceaselessly entertain those deemed less squeamish. Focusing on one Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he ravenously claws his way to the top of the stock brokers’ career ladder, Scorsese’s latest is a morally reprehensible retread of the real-life inspiration’s comparably reprehensible, moreover greed-centric life choices and values. From booze to drugs to hookers, Mr. Belfort’s sleazy pursuit of the American Dream is one of nigh unbelievable impudence as he and his firm exploit rich investors’ gullibility for profit.
For starters, those looking for something weighty in the vein of a typical seriocomic romp are in the wrong place. While the stakes are high and Belfort’s deplorable antics illustrated hilariously, The Wolf of Wall Street is a feel-bad movie but in the best of ways. Deftly painting a caricature of such an unfortunately disarming scumbag, Scorsese’s kinetic handling of the material is wonderfully engaging despite how thoroughly unlikable everyone is. From nearly every stitch of vulgarity-laden dialogue to snorting coke off of a girlfriend’s breasts in the back of a limousine, The Wolf of Wall Street‘s more-than-passable substance is laudably and wildly unpredictable if a bit one-note.
Given an unavoidably prolonged lack of tact, it’s safe to say that at around three hours, The Wolf of Wall Street‘s epic depiction of increasingly illegal activity can be misinterpreted as a glorification of it. While nearly everything is portrayed with an excellently ’80s-infused obdurateness, bits of the film are still shockingly cautionary and unflinching as such. Put plainly, Scorsese’s handling of Terence Winter’s script is apt in a way that most likely honors the real Belfort’s inflection throughout his source memoir, of which will undoubtedly prove to be off-putting for conservative viewers.
Rife with highly engaging debauchery of quite literally all kinds, The Wolf of Wall Street is something of a modest masterpiece, Scorsese’s technical proclivity doing wonders in aiding what’s an agreeably vivacious retelling of such a story. Remarkable performances further aid the film’s loudmouthed immodesty, DiCaprio’s ever-present conviction once again solidifying himself as one of the best in the business. Although its drug-addled shenanigans and stock broker swindling runs its course, The Wolf of Wall Street certainly scores a heap of points for its distinctly energetic narrative personality.