Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Wolf Of Wall Street Review


The Wolf Of Wall Street
Director: Martin Scorsese
Actors: Leonardo Di Caprio, Jonah Hill
Ratings: ****

How much more money would you earn even after earning more than enough? And yet, how far would you go to save every last penny of it?

Martin Scorsese’s latest release The Wolf Of Wall Street is about one such man whom you would like to ask these insightful questions- Jordan Belfort. Leonardo Di Caprio plays, or rather, lives that role.

Belfort is a stock broker who picks up unconventional way to rise up in the Wall Street. He now gives motivational speeches in Sales Psychology; convinces middle-class men, calling them idiots, to invest in their penny stocks over phone! He teaches this trick of fooling clients to his boys whom he had just hired in from streets. Once they start getting rich, you see these bad guys from the streets in suits. 

In the suits are the new rulers of Wall Street, we are made to believe. We have to buy it because there’s no scene created that would make you feel it. There’s no strife competition to them from the market. Their only enemy is the FBI and the US government. Because, obviously, whatever they are doing is “absolutely illegal” as told to us by the lead directly while explaining to us what is IPO, scratching it midway, asking us would you care? Hell, yeah! Not. 

These are foul-mouthed brokers, working furiously, doing cocaine at their office. Drugs and money are in much abundance in the film, possessing as these boys’ addiction. They earn it bad, they spend it bad. And to describe this unabashed debauchery into words, Belfort, unapologetically, puts in one of his meeting, “If you think I’m being materialistic or something, go work at the McDonalds, that’s where you fucking belong.”

The Wolf Of Wall Street is set in early ‘90s, when Scorsese’s iconic gangster film Goodfellas was released. These boys do remind you of the ones from that film. If Goodfellas was about good people doing bad business, the ones running Stratton Oakmont Inc. are certainly, even after being reported as “a twisted Robinhood” (as they take money from the rich and keep with themselves), bad. 

Narrative structure is also largely borrowed from that film… the protagonist, breaking the fourth wall, talking to us directly; and voice-over reading into the character’s mind, which is hilarious in most of the parts. Yes, that complaint of telling most of the story rather than showing it to us would be there. But you really wouldn’t, if you have followed the style of this auteur’s filmmaking. We love him for his style. He is in his best form here. He knows how to entertain the masses keeping his cinematic sense intact. 

Events in the film progress with fantastic energy, balancing the emotional graph and not making a single bit of the film that runs for around 3 hours exhausting or tiring. Thanks to the preservers of Indian culture, the censored cuts in the film make it a bit jarring, though. The arc of the central character is a standard one, which allows some cliché events to seep in, like his first encounter with the FBI agent (played by Kyle Chandler). Thankfully, the film that is so high, like its drug-addict protagonist, it never cripples, unlike the latter in one standout scene that left me jaw-dropped throughout, mainly for Di Caprio’s performance in it.

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