If you thought that nothing could get you howling more than the more than 500 uses of the word F*** in The Wolf of Wall Street, the degradation of women in the hand of rich criminals, the scamming of investors of their life savings and the abuse of drugs, be prepared for a surprise.

Do a little more research and you learn that Jordan Belfort, whose memoirs this film is based on, having spent just under 2 years in jail for massive drug use, and swindling so many of US$200 million (S$253 million), still has a thriving business doing motivational talks, writing 2 books and earning US$1 million for the movie rights. Not only that, for all his wrongdoing, and the fact that he has been getting away with hardly paying back what the court mandated him to, he still gets to be glamourized and immortalized by Leonardo DiCaprio .

Plus public and critical reception has also been more than kind. With 5 Oscar nominations, 2 Golden Globes noms and 1 win for DiCaprio as Best Actor, the movie about the excesses of an avaricious and unscrupulous trader who co-founded Stratton Oakmont, has also recovered more than the US$100 million budget just from domestic box office.

Just remember that the first collaboration between Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese, Gangs of New York in 2002, received double (that’s 10) Academy awards nominations.

This is their fifth movie together, following The Aviator, The Departedand Shutter Island.

The movie also employs a lot of black humour into its plot, which includes a scene of a debilitated Belfort struggling to drive back home after the Quaaludes, which he had consumed earlier, had kicked in enormous effect. Complementing this, the movie is laden with controversial and provocative content.

Expect nothing less than

hundreds of different scenes of various women unabashedly baring their bodies, full-on sex scenes, and various brokers snorting so much crack that you can’t help but wonder how some of the characters survived till the end of the film. Need we mention that there’s even a scene where Jonah Hill’s character, Donnie, was self-stimulating in front of a crowd at a party? We guess not, but you have been warned.

In fact, the majority of the laughs in this film are found in the moments when DiCaprio or any other of the main characters acted like bratty frat boys.

There was a particular scene when Belford’s father stormed into his office, kicking up a fuss about a bill which amounted to several tens of thousands of dollars from a company that hired prostitutes and another that dealt with high-end champagnes. Belford keeps trying to deny any association with the bill, especially after just having a line in his office with his colleagues. Another scene which nailed this notion was when Belfort’s partner in crime, Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) was testing the patience of money courier Brad (Jon Bernthal) when the former was supposed to pass the latter a briefcase containing cold hard cash for Belfort’s money smuggling scheme from New York to Switzerland.

The cast was needless to say, phenomenal. DiCaprio, who’d bagged a Golden Globe for Best Actor playing another super rich tycoon Howard Hughes, Jr., effortlessly transitioned from a responsible albeit aggressive broker interested to help his clients grow rich, to a conniving con with no qualms of ripping people of their life savings by inflating worthless or fraudulent stocks, a sexually frustrated and emotional wreck, lost in his continuous pursuit of drug-induced highs and wealth.

Speaking of when he was 26, DiCaprio, as Belfort, says, “I made $49 million, which really pissed me off, because it was 3 shy of a million a week,” with enough arrogance to piss Anton Casey off.

This film arguably sees his acting at his best.

Margot Robbie, who appeared in series Pan Am as Laura Cameron, has great screen chemistry with DiCaprio as Belfort’s second wife, Naomi.

As you watch the movie, the flow of the story may seem a little haphazard. The truth is, this has always been Scorsese’s distinct style in his movies. However, by the end of its runtime of 165 minutes everything will begin to make sense.

Simply put, you may be indignant but the amount and glorification of sex, drugs, money, but along with that annoyance comes an abundance of effectively employed black humour, DiCaprio’s best acting in years, and 1 paramount life lesson – the past will always catch up with us, which calls for all of us to make life choices with a long-term mentality.


Rating: 4.3/5
Release Date: Jan 9
Runtime: 165 minutes
Language: English
Rating: R21
Genre: Comedy
Cast: Leonardo di Caprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie

Photos courtesy of Themissingslate.com, IBNLive.com, NYDailyNews.com, Independent.co.uk, TheGuardian.com