the wolf of wall street

Everybody was raving as hard as Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) on drugs about The Wolf of Wall Street for months before I even got the chance to see it and you can just imagine how bumped up I was prior to the opening monologue. The excitement continued, it kept my spirit high for quite long and though I consider it one of the good ones, best of the best, I can’t say The Wolf of Wall Street was perfect.

It’s quite the task to talk about The Wolf of Wall Street in the middle of February when everybody else has already seen it, written about it and read about it a lot. Is there anything left that hasn’t been discussed to its limits and if there is, please, tell me, because I haven’t even started and I’m already facing a problem. The first problem of mine is the fact that I can’t shake off the feeling of having too much to tell and it’s the problem of how the hell can I summarize a 3 hour movie, where everything that could have happened happened and more, into a review? That brings me to my first and probably the only critical point of The Wolf of Wall Street – its length that didn’t bother me so much in the beginning of the movie but became a crucial element half-way through.

jonah hill the wold of wall street

The thing is, I’m not a fan of long movies anyway, I think it’s a problem I have had forever – watching a movie longer than 2 hours has a very high possibility of becoming exhausting at one point. So when I realized that The Wolf of Wall Street was 3 hours long, I already feared of what might happen and sadly it did. The first half of the movie was very strong, powerful and hit all the right buttons and then, as I tried to keep myself focused, I slowly started to realize that I wanted it to end sooner than it did. I know it sounds bad, it sounds as if I didn’t enjoy the movie in the end but I did, it’s just the matter of energy that slowly left my brain after the two hour mark. And it’s just something I suffer from, it doesn’t really matter how great the movie is, I still would love the movie, as I loved The Wolf of Wall Street, but it’s my attention span that becomes my inevitable distraction.

But like I said earlier, The Wolf of Wall Street is still one of the best movies from last year and there’s no doubt that Martin Scorsese knows what he’s doing. Though I did feel some minor things bothered me, for instance having another person tell the narrative in voice over, though it was just couple of times, it somehow broke the illusion of us being in Belfort’s head. The movie as a whole worked well, the voice over was necessary and the opening monologue breaking the fourth wall was delightful to see. And when it came to different styles of story telling, it seemed that Scorsese used so many techniques that right when you thought there can’t be any more, he through in another. That being said, The Wolf of Wall Street had just the right amount of everything, right amount of crazy, drugs, sex, laughs, drama, everything was just enough, except Matthew McConaughey – there wasn’t enough of him!

the wolf of wall street scene

Now you’re probably wondering why I gave the movie such a high rating though I’ve mentioned so many little things that bothered me, well, I loved the cast, the whole concept and story too much to sweat the small things. The characters were outrageous and crazy, performances by DiCaprio and Jonah Hill were even better than I expected and I was so glad to love Margot Robbie’s performance even though I knew she was going to be great anyway. Jean Dujardin was as good as always, Kyle Chandler was too soft for my taste but a lot of the workers in Belfort’s original crew had a lot of screen appeal and I have no idea who they are. Another thing that makes the movie amazing is that The Wolf of Wall Street is based on an actual person, it is so crazy and out of this world that knowing this really kind of happened is just awesome.

The big question before the BIG day, Oscars, is who will take home the Best Actor and I figure it’s the best time to come clean about my own personal take on the matter. I’m going to be team McConaughey this year because though I loved DiCaprio’s Belfort, I loved McConaughey’s Ron Woodroof more. Also, I find it a bit ironic that both my favorite portrayed characters were based on real life and both are, on paper, bad guys. Yet, Belfort and Woodroof are still men who viewers root for, and their flaws and mistakes just don’t create a bad man due to the appeal DiCaprio and McConaughey posses.

Wolf of Wall Street Quaaludes (1)

Having said all of that, I might as well tell you about my favorite DiCaprio scene – the Belfort’s struggle to the car. Now, it is already one of the more famous ones and it’s a great laugh but I noticed something else. I realized that the scene was dragged and dragged on purpose, and for me, the purpose was to show the horror of drugs. Now, the beginning of the scene was hilarious, everybody was laughing and then, slowly but gradually and noticeably, the laughter became quieter and quieter. Just like with drugs, they might seem fun at first but with time, they became sad and pathetic even.  That’s why I loved that scene, yes, it was hilarious but it was also hurtful to watch a man struggle due to drugs to a point where it wasn’t no longer funny. That was my favorite scene because it was so controversial and full of meaning.

There are many other scenes that stood out, the jacking-off scene by Hill still haunts me, the flashback of the craziness happening on the plane, Margot Robbie making DiCaprio crawl while flashing herself to the guards, Hill chocking, DiCaprio making his sale speech(es) and many more, but it would take forever to discuss all of them. One thing is certain though, I’d watch The Wolf of Wall Street again and again just to see all the details because I’m fairly certain that this kind of a cinematic ride, crazy and totally outrageous, will have new nuances appearing with every revisit. That’s the beauty of movies, the good ones at least, the amount of new things a viewer might see the second time, the third time and so on. That and the humor, the performances, the plot, the direction and of course, the awesome soundtrack – The Wolf of Wall Street has all of that!


  • That car scene is amazing! I do agree about the length though. I figure for a film to need to be more than 2 hours long it needs to be telling me a pretty epic story.

  • Ah the ‘not enough of McConaughey’ problem. There’s never enough, never enough…:) glad you liked the movie and Jonah Hill’s work – he is such a great dude and he was fantastic in this movie. I’m not a big fan of Chandler’s casting – he is just not charismatic enough to hold his own among these guys.

    • Yeah, the Matty needs to be in my life more.. but I still can’t push myself to watch his rom-coms.. I need more new stuff, more True Detective and so on!

      I liked Chandler in Friday Night Lights.. he was a typical father figure but he needed to be more badass in this.. I wanted him to look threatening .. but maybe it was the point, the nonthreatening person can still take down big powerful men?

      • Have you seen Bernie, Lincoln Lawyer, Paperboy? They’re all good ^^ I’m going through his older stuff now because I’m working on a big article, Two for the Money is also a pretty cool movie, Al Pacino is good in that even though it’s another in line of his lazy performances.

        Maybe, yeah, but for me as he was the main good guy he really should shine a bit more.

        • No! My to watch list is so long so I’m having trouble watching older movies now and trying to watch all the Best Picture nominations is taking up a lot of my time!

  • I agree with everything you’ve noted here, the overlong length, and the sheer amount of excess in the film. There’s not really any plot going on, but when you’ve got both DiCaprio and Hill unleashing their comic potential, who can complain! It’s interesting to see that the two of them scored nominations. DiCaprio is even gaining some momentum for his performance in the film. But you’re right, McConaughey will win, or at least I hope so. Lovely review by the way.

    • There is a plot.. but since it’s based on real life, the plot is maybe less cinematic and I like it. It is more real that way. Though some situations felt as unreal as unicorns !

      Matty has to win.. please… please universe, let Matty win!

  • Good review Ray. It’s a hard movie to get through, but I was able to and found myself happier than ever once it was over. Maybe some of that happiness stems from the fact that the three hours were over, but some of it also most definitely stems from the fact that I was apart of a party that never stopped, or had me bored.

  • I never tire of reading about The Wolf of Wall Street. I just love this one so much. I want Leo to win this Oscar soooo badly!

  • Glad you liked it even though you had to wait so long. Sometimes there’s a danger that these things can get over-hyped and expectations raise too high. I loved this movie – DiCaprio is amazing, but I agree that McConaghey’s Ron Woodroof is better.

  • Nice review!!! Good to see you enjoyed yourself with it, because i know I sure did. It was quite the epic run time, wasn’t it? And there’s also something to be said for the repetition of the drug/alcohol/female abuse that goes on here, but it all sort of served a point: at what point does excess turn to evil? That’s what I took away from this film. These people were fun to watch, but at what point do we start thinking they really are some nasty folks?

    A tremendous project for all to be involved in, it will be interesting to see what the Academy thinks of it in a little while here!

    • I think the running time was indeed something epic and yet.. maybe too much. I can’t help to think that the point was to show how tiring that kind of lifestyle can be. It did turn a bit tiresome in the end for me but maybe it was just me..

  • “Having said all of that, I might as well tell you about my favorite DiCaprio scene – the Belfort’s struggle to the car. Now, it is already one of the more famous ones and it’s a great laugh but I noticed something else. I realized that the scene was dragged and dragged on purpose, and for me, the purpose was to show the horror of drugs.”

    Completely agree. Scorsese’s direction of that scene to help turn from rolling on the floor laughter to something absolutely disturbing with his daughter seeing it was very skilful. And that’s without even mentioning DiCaprio’s performance in that scene, which was honestly great. Brilliant scene all around.

    • I remember the moment so clearly, it was so funny and funny and then the theater just kept going quieter and the scene kept going.. I think everybody felt overwhelmed by it and I hope the general movie goers understood that meaning as well!

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