Martin Scorsese’s latest film once again features Leonardo DiCaprio (after very successful collaborations on ‘Gangs of New York’ 02, ‘The Aviator’ 04, The Departed’ 06 and ‘Shutter Island’ 10) and, as with The Aviator, it has garnered DiCaprio a very well deserved Academy Award nomination. He plays Jordan Belfort, who would later be heralded by the titular moniker after taking Wall Street by storm, starting out with vicious, remorseless and extremely successful penny stock profiteering. The film follows his exploits from his days as a mild mannered and slightly idealistic greenhorn in the industry under the tutelage of a, once more, very on form Matthew McConaughey, through starting a family and his ever surging success along with its associated excess, and I do mean excess.
The film has a very similar to feel to Oliver Stone’s ‘Wall Street’ (87), reason being that in real life Belfort was inspired by that very film, which probably makes DiCaprio the only person to be Oscar nominated for a role based on someone who was inspired by another Oscar winning role – namely Michael Douglas in Wall Street. It has caused lots of controversy by showing just how careless and ready to completely rip people off Belfort and his employees were – the argument being it sets a bad precedent when they seem to be having such a good time doing it, and given another high profile movie effectively inspired the whole thing it is a fair point. However, the film is simply retelling a true story and really all this venom should be directed at the failings in the justice system and the finance sector that it accurately highlights, and in terms of the filmmaking it is a sterling, engrossing, reflective and highly entertaining piece of work. It would not have been amiss to see more of the effects for the people losing all their savings, but the film is still a lot of fun and features good turns from all the cast, including Jonah Hill and a career launching performance from Margot Robbie (pictured above).
This is the first major feature film to be released to cinemas only in digital form, and currently it also holds the record for the most uses of the word ‘fuck’ in any non-documentary film, although the exact number used varies, perhaps due to the news that the DVD will include a longer and more explicit cut of the film. Unusually for Scorsese, The Rolling Stones cannot be heard playing at any point, though this does not detract from a very good and fitting soundtrack.