Hookers and blow. That’s my three-word synopsis for the plot of The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and directed by Martin Scorsese. It’s the true story of the rise and fall of stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who incidentally will also be in South Africa alongside Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak for the Success Summit at the Sandton Convention centre on 1 to 2 March.
There is a lot of #OscarBuzz for Leo to snag the gold statuette for Best Actor in a Leading Role for this one, but I’m not sure if it’s deserved.
Rather than present you with Belfort’s life story, Scorsese air-drops your right into the middle of the frantic hedonism of The Wolf of Wall Street, where you might as well put your feet up and immerse yourself in for the next three hours. In fact, ‘Recreational Drugs’ should have received an opening credit. The very excess that characterised Wall Street in the early 90s is the star of this movie.
To give you an idea, it opens with a scene of midgets wearing helmets being tossed at a giant bullseye while an office of hundreds of adrenaline-rushing stockbrokers cheer them on. I’d know this is a ‘mommy blog’, so you’d be forgiven for assuming this is too much for my genteel tastes, but I love a good sex, drugs and rock ’n roll flick.
I’ve always felt that Scorsese’s true talent has been in digging into dark characters, making them relatable and human, and then juxtaposing these characters with a flawed hero. I saw nothing human in DiCaprio’s portrayal of Belfort, and I felt that Kyle Chandler’s character, Agent Patrick Denham, lacked depth. I could never really lose myself in their cat-and-mouse chase. To me, DiCaprio’s performance of a ludicrously wealthy, drug addicted, excess junkie was almost comical it was so over the top – it reminded me distinctly of a rubber-faced Jim Carrey back in Liar Liar.
For me the best performance was a bespectacled Johah Hill as Belfort’s partner, Donnie Azoff. It was refreshing seeing him tackle something with a little more weight than his usual fare al la Superbad.
My advice is put all thoughts of this being a Scorsese movie out of your mind when you watch The Wolf of Wall Street. Don’t overthink it, just let yourself be sucked into the crazy ride.
We watched this movie at Ster-Kinekor Cresta Centre. I am mentioning this because the seats are huge. I have sat in aeroplane seats that are smaller. Not sure if the chairs are so large and comfortable in all their cinemas, but it was a treat.
With the Academy Awards coming up coming up on 2 March, I have also watched Gravity and I think Sandra Bullock has an excellent chance of winning some gold. The only other Oscar-nominated movie I’m still dying to see is American Hustle, which opens in cinemas on 28 Feb. Both Amy Adams and Christian Bale have received Best Actor/Actress nominations, and I’m so interested to see what Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper bring to the screen - they both have been nominated in supporting roles. (Here is a list of all the nominees here.)
PS: Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau have a fun Oscar Buzz quiz up on their Facebook page. (I got 8 out of 12.) There are some cool DVD boxsets still up for grabs.
And now, our man Leo...
Photo credit: Mary Cybulski - © 2013 Paramount Pictures.