“I want you to deal with your problems by becoming rich.” These words resound loudly over the 506 curses that pepper Martin Scorsese’s greedy account of a self made Wall Street monster, which has Leonardo DiCaprio gurn, snort and grab his way through 180 minutes of mayhem, charging from quiet trainee to manipulating self-starter to uncontrollable millionaire, creating a sometimes entertaining, sometimes terrifying spiral of self destruction.
DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a manipulative broker whose addiction to wealth results in the financial and emotional ruin of the people around him. It’s one of his finest roles to date, filling every inch of this larger than life caricature, and one which under Scorsese’s grounded eye falls apart with hypnotic appeal.
It’s easy to see where The Wolf Street debate has risen from; the meat of the film is dedicated to the treasures of the trade with the consequences wrapped up violently in the final chapter. Those that fall foul of Belfort are disposed of harshly and with haste, and the costs of his actions are present but devoid of any real emotion.
Supporting roles are thoughtfully cast; Jonah Hill moves his comedic background into new depths as a grotesque right-hand man who you can’t help but like, Margot Robbie is irresistible as Belfort’s beau and with a tiny amount of screen time Matthew McConaughey runs risk of stealing the whole film.
Through lavish aesthetics and a relentless pace, Scorsese’s film feels as though it should have a pulse, constantly moving and growing until it burns itself out in a drug fuelled and desperate demise. Whatever your moral stance on the pursuit of Belfort’s fortune this is an impressive and enthralling film which dares you to take your eyes off it, and proves a promising start for cinema in 2014.