Monday, 20 January 2014

Review: THE WOLF OF WALLSTREET ****


By Mary Grace Nguyen
I wish I was as rich as a trader, that got high and satisfied at the same time.
There are so many things to love about the Wolf of Wall Street, not only for Leonardo Di Caprio's handsome face as millionaire trader Jordan Belfort, not only for his loud mouth crony and confidante Donnie Azzoff' (Jonah Hill) and the endless humour that got you cracking up in hysterics but, for the endorphins and drive for money, drugs and sex with a lot of high class hookers. It is a parallel universe to the 95% of people who will end up watching this movie, because only a small cohort of actual traders will have the time, while the rest of them will be too busy making that money or not bother to view this lavish explosion of gluttony party mayhem to which they probably endure day in, day out. Matthew Macconaughey  plays a cameo role as one of Jordan's first mentors (Mark Hanna,) and tells him that there are two factors that keep him going in the business, 'cocaine and hookers', after having screamed at a bunch of wall street money mongers. 'Let's f***!', is what he screams when it turns 9.30am on the ticket clock - the time when they start picking up the phones and making those millions of dollars.



Unusual incentives and comradery perks in the office take place once the market closed in forms of throwing dwarfs on velcro dart boards, prostitutes and strippers running around naked (out of nowhere,) half dressed marching bands trumpeting and banging away on the drums and a female colleague agreeing to $10,000 in exchange for a shaven head Oh, and let’s not forget that there was a lot of coke and alcohol around to feed a small island. It's almost too ridiculous to be realistic but, according to Belfort himself, this ridiculousness was how far it got and for Martin Scorsese, the setting and scenes bear fruit - money made these liars richer. 



The misogyny is also too gruesome from Jordon's constant need to steer away from his home life and resume hookerville and infidelity that led to him meeting his second wife (Naomi Lapaglia,) played by the gorgeous Margot Robbie. With such phrases as the girls being 'bald from the eyebrows down,' to the physical violence he inflicts on her when she first lets him know that she wants a divorce, you can see how the corruption slowly festers in his head within the past 5 years from when he created his criminal enterprise. 



The movie is electrifying with beautiful unaffordable homes, unfathomable mansions, dreamy backgrounds of Manhattan, Switzerland and Italy. All you need is a yacht with Nicola's name on it to feel like you have made it. Leonardo rocks up in Armani suits and a pearl white Lamborghini Countach, which is loaded with Belford’s calibre and sense of style, let alone his pocket. The film's focus on a spoilt plot follows with mini snippets where he would look at the camera and tell us point black that nothing he was doing was legal, giving off a wariness and skewed perception that Belfort was aware of his own paranoias of being found out by the FBI.



Most memorable scenes that topped if off, for me, was the moment Belfort and Donnie started to pile on the Lemmon pills. As soon as Jordan had reached the cerebral palsy stage it was a painful stomach that got you giggling childishly, hugging your tummy and hissing. From the crawling into his soon-to-be trashed toy car and getting into it with great difficulty, both of their inabilities to communicate to each other, the twists and turns of the telephone wires and Donnie almost dying from ham stuck in his throat soon resuscitated by Pop-Eye spinach and cocaine fiend induced Jordan. Scorsese achieved taking the edge of drugs by allowing it to be comical as the movie, Hangover, me thinks.



Any professional that has to close deals with clients, attend sales meeting, listen to motivational speeches and aim to win hard earned commission, will empathise with this pressure 'boiler room' environment. It is a reminder that with much greed and money, there is a downfall to be had with all this happiness if not monitored and traced. In one of Jordan's last speeches to his employees he says, 'I want to help you get rid of your problems, pick up the phone and get rich.' This is the a poignant phrase that resonates everywhere because time is precious in a cut throat money grabbing world, and for all it is worth, this is just a biography of one of the many historical anti-heroes who get founded out for trying to corrupt the system and thinking they can get away with it. 

**** (4 STAR)