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‘Wolf of Wall Street’ a howling success

Matthew Defeo

The past decade, or perhaps, more broadly, the modern era of film, has seen more than its fair share of illicit substances, scantily clad women and cussing. In that regard, “The Wolf of Wall Street” does not differ in the existence of these overdone gimmicks, but it does vary in the utilization of them.

Hill and DiCaprio’s chemistry brings humor to the film. (AP Photo)
Hill and DiCaprio’s chemistry brings humor to the film. (AP Photo)

The film, which includes literal hills of cocaine and harems of women to properly depict this real-life tale, tells the story of Jordan Belfort, the notorious conman from the ’80s who made millions off of selling crummy stocks to investors.This film, however, is not another cheap, gawk-filled three-hour time slot of nude women. Although there are plenty of sexual scenes throughout the movie, most of the time sexually explicit body parts are cropped out, and this is where the viewer can see the effects of these actions much more clearly.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s demented facial contortions are framed much more prominently than the mountainous amounts of cocaine and uncovered females. This was meticulously designed by director Martin Scorsese to turn the focus onto Belfort’s inner degradation.

Filling out the cast is Jonah Hill, who dons a near perfect New York accent and dresses in neon pink. Hill and DiCaprio complement each other perfectly, adding humor to this seemingly unfunny corrupt crime spree.

DiCaprio may have singlehandedly ushered in a new era of method acting with his performance as Belfort. After all, DiCaprio became free to act like a money crazed sociopath during the screening of the movie and much to my surprise, he made me believe he was who he was portraying.

I sat open-mouthed and with an unbroken gaze for the majority of the entire movie in the same way I did when I first watched “Raging Bull” — ironically another Scorsese film that starred the illustrious method actor Robert De Niro.

That said, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is hardly a film without fault — an example is the complete overdoing of the scenes involving drugs.

I believe a whole 15 minutes was spent on watching the two conmen ingest Queludes and then bumble around the house drooling like fools. Scenes like this do little to move the plot forward and lose their shock value in the first hour and a half of the film.

Scorsese directs the film to appeal to a wide audience. (AP Photo)
Scorsese directs the film to appeal to a wide audience. (AP Photo)

Despite the redundancy of certain scenes, Scorsese does a fabulous job of making the film an all-purpose movie — it is hilarious, morose and informative.

Interwoven between the cinematic genius of the film are simple explanations for people who simply do not understand the Wall Street trading aspects of the movie or the various exotic drugs the characters choose to ingest.

Too often in movies, music and other media, the creator assumes  the audience knows certain background information, which might leave one lost.

I, for one, was not the most excited at the prospect of seeing the film, due to my interest in more literary topics and a lack of understanding about Wall Street. I had no trouble mentally forging my way through the movie.

So be sure to check out this modern marvel of film if you want to be stunned by cinema again.


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