At the Movies - The Wolf of Wall Street - Review

Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Wolf of Wall Street'.
Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Wolf of Wall Street'.

The word antihero doesn’t even come close to describing Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Jordan Belfort in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’.

Martin Scorsese’s film is based on the true story of Belfort who, years after setting up his own stock broker company, was found guilty of money laundering and was sentenced to four years in a federal prison. He was also ordered to pay $110 million to his victims.

Jonah Hill in 'The Wolf of Wall Street'.

Jonah Hill in 'The Wolf of Wall Street'.

It’s remarkable that anyone could feel an ounce of sympathy or indeed admiration for Belfort but the most surprising facet of Scorsese’s 23rd feature film is that it is so painfully funny and entertaining.

DiCaprio is flawless as Belfort. As he narrates the film for its entire 180 minutes we get to see Belfort go from a young, naive, faithful and ambitious stockbroker to a narcissistic, drug dependent, morally corrupt brokerage owner fuelled by nothing but insatiable greed.

It’s quite the transformation and DiCaprio makes it utterly seamless.

For many, as an actor DiCaprio is like the teenager who disrupts every class at school and because of that many believe he will amount to very little.

DiCaprio was written off early in his career when he starred alongside Kate Winslet in James Cameron’s ‘Titanic’ in 1997.

But like manys a disruptive teenager at school, DiCaprio put his bad days behind him. Instead he fulfilled expectations raised way back in 1993 when he acted alongside Robert De Niro in ‘This Boy’s Life’ .

Now 39-years-old, DiCaprio still possess the guile he showed glimpses of in Michael Caton-Jones’ film. However he’s no longer a youngster but one of Hollywood’s most talented leading men.

The relationship between DiCaprio and Scorsese has produced some amazing films. ‘Shutter Island’, ‘The Departed’ and ‘The Aviator’ were all tremendous and while ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ is not the best film the two men have made together, it certainly is the film that gets the best out of DiCaprio.

However, there is a problem and it’s a major flaw. DiCaprio is excellent but his character is so impossible to like that some will actually find themselves cheering on the FBI when they put the spotlight on Belfort and his brokerage, Stratton Oakmont.

No matter how anyone tries to dress it up there is nothing even remotely redeeming about Jordan Belfort. The man defrauded people out of money just so that he and his friends could finance their debauched lifestyle. What’s admirable about that?

Scorsese has been nominated for a best director Oscar for ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ but it’s debatable whether he deserves it.

Scorsese is one of the greatest directors of all time and ever since I saw ‘Goodfellas’ I’ve been a fan of his work. ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ doesn’t come close to any of his previous masterpieces.

Fans of Scorsese and anyone, for that matter, who has ever watched ‘Goodfellas’, will notice an acute similarity between the 1990 gangster film and ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’.

On several occasions the film plays out like ‘Goodfellas’. In fact there are certain scenes that are almost identical. But don’t be mistaken - ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ is still ridiculously entertaining, enjoyable and laugh out loud funny.

DiCaprio is immense, Hill is bizarre and hilarous and the film boasts some of the most memorable scenes of 2014. However, it’s possible to feel anything but disdain towards DiCaprio’s Belfort.

The film plays out too much like ‘Goodfellas’ at times and some scenes are identical to the 1990 film.

It’s most certainly not one of Scorsese’s best but it’ll do just fine.

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ is currently showing at the Brunswick Moviebowl. For full movie listings visit or telephone 02871 371 999.