Story: Middle-class Jordan Belfort makes millions selling dodgy stocks – how long can he fly high? Review: Straight up, The Wolf of Wall Street (TWOWS) is one of the most amusing and appalling films around. Martin Scorsese paints a compelling portrait of Wall Street, that metaphor for American ability and greed, sending your head spinning with its ferocity. Leonardo DiCaprio stands foreground, delivering fresh-faced-with-wicked-eyes with the kick of a cocktail. DiCaprio excels as Jordan, a middle-class boy dreaming dollar signs, landing on Wall Street in 1987, mentored by stock wiz Mark Hannah (McConaughey) in how to ‘move money from your client’s pocket into yours’. Jordan’s loving the buzz when a crash forces him into a penny-stock trading firm, offering postmen and plumbers modest buys.
Here too, with his drive and desire, Jordan strikes it rich, launching his own firm with neighbour Donny (Hill) and ‘young, hungry, stupid’ guys who get super-rich. When they’re not ensuring the client ‘either buys or f***ing dies’, the brokers do drugs and sex like there’s no tomorrow. But the FBI’s watching their orgy. DiCaprio runs away with Jordan, magnetic as he trains his pack to hunt, brutally funny when high on drugs, he crawls to his low-slung Ferrari. You feel Jordan’s hunger for dough, his itching hands, his lips licked at the thought of his next billion. DiCaprio is compelling, quipping amidst carnality and cocaine, “This is obscene in the normal world – but who the f*** wants to live there?” Swinging from magnificent to meatloaf, DiCaprio nails over-the-top, yet fragile Jordan, unraveling after meeting Patrick Denham (Chandler), FBI.
There are further ‘highs’ – Hill’s memorable as chubby, grotesque Donny, Jean Dujardin’s like a polished fondue as slick Swiss banker Saurel, veteran British actress Joanna Lumley’s in a nice cameo as Aunt Emma to Jordan’s bombshell wife Naomi (Robbie). The movie could have snipped 20 minutes off but the soundtrack’s peppy-bright against greed raw and stark, capturing the violence and vulgarity embellishing the victories of Wall Street. The ‘F’ word’s sprinkled generously, like salt on French fries, shocking your taste-buds more. Prepare your appetite. This Wolf makes you wince, think, laugh – and growl.