run time: 180 mins
considered: Biography, Comedy, Crime
starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Kyle Chandler, Matthew McConaughey, Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau
– Before you read this review, you should just log off your computer, drive to your local theatre, and buy a ticket to this movie if you haven’t seen it yet because it’s that awesome!
movie summary: Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government. (www.imdb.com)
The Wolf of Wall Street starts out in probably one of the most controversial ways possible, which could leave a sour taste in some audience members’ mouths, but be prepared; this is only the beginning. We are introduced to Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), one wealthy guy who can have anything he wants despite the fact he already owns everything. He owns a mansion, a couple of cars, a yacht, a helicopter, has a beautiful wife and all the money he could want. Jordan may be smart in selling stocks and making money, but he is foolish when spending it and what he does in his free time. He has a drinking problem, snorts crack all day long, and has a sex addiction problem. His extravagant life wasn’t always this perfect or mess up (depends on how you see it), so the movie lets us see both his good and bad life decisions.
Jordan lived in New York City and dreamed of making money for his wife and two kids. He became a stockbroker with Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) for a firm on Wall Street. Hanna takes Belfort out for lunch to give him the survival tips on making it in such a cut-throat business. On Black Monday, October 19, 1987, the firm that employed the two men goes under the stock market crash, leaving Belfort without a job. After no luck on his job search, he comes across an ad to sell penny stocks, which he decides to look into. During his first day on the job, he sells thousands of penny stocks to customers making a 50% commission on each sale.
Fast forward a few weeks later, when he’s rolling in the dough, dressing for success, and driving a nice car, he meets Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill). Together the pair start the stockbroker firm Stratton Oakmont with the help of Belfort’s drug-dealing friends. The firm grows to be one of the most influential and most prosperous companies on Wall Street in the early 1990s. Most people would be envious of working at Google or Apple, but Belfort offers a unique workplace setting. There are strippers in the office on any given day, there’s always an unlimited supply of drugs to take, and company parties are incredibly wild.
Having all this money and power always draws the wrong people’s attention, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Belfort believes he is invincible and untouchable but doesn’t know how to tone his lifestyle down to keep out of the spotlight. Soon FBI agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) is hot on his trail, waiting for the right moment to catch him doing something illegal and bust him. At this point in his life, Belfort’s substance abuse is out of control, his marriage is falling apart, and his company is under microscope surveillance. Eventually, in an attempt to move his money to overseas accounts, he gets busted by Denham and the FBI, but will they have enough evidence to put Belfort away, or will he cut a deal to save his lifestyle and fortune.
my thoughts: I honestly didn’t know this movie was labelled as a comedy because this is one of the year’s funniest films. Yes, the laughs come at the expense of heavy drug and alcohol abuse, but DiCaprio and Hill do some crazy stuff. The two funniest parts have to be when the pair are flying to Europe and when they pop a bunch of expired Lemon Pills in Belfort’s house. Their interaction and chemistry are worth the price of admission all on its own. People will say this is the ultimate guys’ movie because of all the naked women and booze one can imagine, but remember, this is based on a true story! I’m sure some of this story was embellished to run the film’s run time to 3:00 hours, but with only a few slow parts, this story will keep you entertained.
my star rating: 8 out of 10