It's the true story of this man - Jordan Belfort. A man who broke every law in the book, fleeced people by manipulative stock tradings, cheated on his women, laundered money, did drugs, even ratted on his own friends and is still living it up by selling his story! It's the celebration of a life that should be detested.
Jordan starts off small and learns salesmanship from his first boss. His aggressive style of selling quickly gets him fame and he starts his own agency with a bunch of his friends. He teaches them the tricks of the trade and things start going his way. They cheat people and start making a lot of money in commissions. Their lifestyle is extravagant, to say the least, and Jordan leads by example. Prostitutes are called into office, everybody's doing drugs and it's like a big rave party all the time! Sell, sell, sell and then party, party, party! Excess seems to be order of the day.
Their extravagant lifestyle catches the eye of the FBI and one agent starts digging into the records of Belfort. Several years of lunacy later, he is caught and sentenced to 22 months of jail.
This film is made for Leo. And Leo does it all. The range he shows in his performance is mind boggling. From raving lunacy to raging anger, Leo is at the top of his game. He has 5-minute speeches and long arguments, he shouts like a crazy man, crawls on the floor, lusts like a true sex addict and uses his charisma to enthrall you, mesmerize you. He gets into the skin of the character of this depraved man so well that you begin to detest him in an hours time. This man is so vile and over the top, that you wonder if this is a true story! Leo is supported by a brilliant cast, Jonah Hill being the pick of them. You have to see the drunken escapades of Leo and Jonah to believe it. They are phenomenal.
Of course, Scorsese brings his infectious energy into the film. The storytelling is as crazy as the story itself and adds to the overall impact. The screenplay is brisk and the writing is powerful. Credit goes to Belfort and Winter for writing insanely funny sequences and witty dialogues. The fact that you are enthralled by long monologues is a testament to the performance and the dialogues.
The Popcorn Worthiness:
I was equally impressed and repulsed by the movie. The very fact that the film takes no ethical stand and just revels in the debauchery of this man is off-putting. Although Scorsese tells the story in style, it's not his best story. His last 3 movies were much assured in terms of their telling - Hugo, Shutter Island and The Departed. This one is all about the excesses. And that is where it falters. There is just too much depravity on display - sex, drugs, speeches and cheating in a continuous loop. So much so that I started shifting in my seat. The movie goes nowhere because unlike, "Catch me if you can", there is no competition between the law and the protagonist. It is his story, told by him as if he has done no wrong. It's actually Belfort gloating over his life - he broke the law, destroyed many lives and lived to tell his tale. A more balanced approach would have really made it interesting. The editor would have done well to cut the movie down from 179 minutes to around 150!
You have to read this open letter by Christina McDowell (the daughter of an associate of Belfort who was sent to jail for stock-fraud) to understand why this movie is a glorification of a life that should be vilified. Though the performances are amazing and the writing powerful, I simply cannot support this film. Sorry Leo & Martin, it's just, too, morally departed!
Article written by Virindersingh Vilkhoo
A hopeless FILMantic, a sit-down comic, a cereal killer, chicken lover, who Copys for a living, really! Read his MoViews @ http://www.flicksonic.com