Last night my husband and I went to see Martin Scorcese's new flick, Wolf of Wall Street. The story is about Jordan, an unscrupulous stockbroker who sells penny-stocks played by Leonardo DiCaprio. He is mentored early in his career by another scumbag (Matthew McCaugnohay) who advises him to push stocks on the customers, never allowing them to cash out with their money. Because of the 1987 Black Monday stock crash, Jordan finds himself out of a job. He is very young and newly married (his first wife is played by Game of Thrones' wife of Rob Stark). He quickly gets a job selling penny stocks and shows the entire office how to sell. It's not as prestigious as the blue-chips, but the money is astronomical. Donny (Jonah Hill) sees his flashy Jaguar and hits him up for a job. The two embark on their own business with Jordan taking the brokers from the penny-stock brokerage with him. They sharpen up their act and then move on to rich investors, pushing garbage stocks all the while. Steve Madden soon joins them as they take his shoe stock public, of course buying more than half the shares first, which is insider trading and illegal. Early on in the business Jordan comes off as more of a beloved general or fraternity brother than boss. He rewards his men with prostitutes all of the time. He also supplies them with drugs. Qualudes and cocaine are the favorite.
Jordan's personal life crumbles. His wife divorces him after finding out that he is in love with another woman, Naomi or wife number #2. His new marriage to a much more stylish and good-looking woman is accessorized with a yaught and a mansion in Long Island. The fairytale soon ends as he drifts back to drugs and whores and making money. The FBI become alerted and begin tailing him. The SEC is also on his butt. He turns into a typical money launderer and smuggles millions of dollars into Switzerland. Things come to a head. NO SPOILER ALERT!
I love Scorcese. His movies always seem to be about entitlement and indulgence. It's always a fun ride to watch flawed characters fall. There were so many things that I liked about this movie-the acting, dialogue, and clever direction. Sometimes DiCaprio would talk to the camera and sometimes we would hear the characters' thoughts and sometimes we would see what the character saw when stoned. The movie made me want to NEVER invest with a stock broker. These kind of people make used-car salesmen look like patron saints of honesty. I couldn't help but see parts of Casino and Goodfellas in the movie. One part of the movie DiCaprio had an easy out of his mess, but pride prevented him from saving himself. I also saw a glimmer of Pulp Fiction during one of the drugged out scenes between DiCaprio and Hill-very funny by the way.
Things that I didn't like were the three hours. Too long for any movie. I also didn't like the heightened level of vulgarity brought into this movie. The R-rating is inappropriate. Orgy scenes between skanky women and paunchy men were uncomfortable. A gay orgy scene with the butler was even thrown into the mix. Another odd scene showed Jonah Hill about to masterbate in public to a pretty girl. There was also the disturbing scene when DiCaprio dry-humped a stewardess on a plane. Maybe that was the point-to show what true-blue pigs these people were. Drugs were also glamorized. Everyone rich, good-looking, and cool were stoned out of their minds. Regardless, I was somewhat taken aback and hope this is not the direction that R-rated movies will be taking.
Overall, I cannot give it less than a solid 4/1/2 stars. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.