Film review: The Wolf of Wall Street (8 out of 10)

Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street
Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

It’s good to see that Martin Scorsese is still showing those young directors a thing or two about making movies.

His CV can hardly be bettered by his peers, going back to the 60s and including such classics as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Aviator, The Departed.

In recent years he has worked closely with Leonardo DiCaprio and the two are back together for this tale of excess in the financial world of the 70s and 80s.

It’s long - three hours - and probably could have done with a bit of trimming, but there’s plenty of very funny moments that help the audience as they struggle to stay comfy in their seats.

The story is based on the life of one Jordan Belfort, who used various dubious methods to work the financial system and make himself and his colleagues incredibly rich.

For three-quarters of the film we watch his heady rise and the extreme ways he chose to spend the money - sex, drugs and lavish living.

The final part of the movie, however, is pretty dark in mood as Belfort’s world starts to crash around him and he’s faced with some tough choices.

DiCaprio is excellent in the lead role as he tells his story, often to the camera.

We perhaps take his acting ability for granted after what has already been a long career.

Firing on all cylinders as well is Jonah Hill as Belfort’s colleague and friend Donnie Azoff. Hill is best known for his comic roles and injects much of the humour in this film.

Scorsese encouraged the actors to improvise and some of the best scenes are those where the camera is kept rolling while strange conversations are going on, for instance the excellent dialogue between Belfort and Matthew McConaughey’s financial hotshot Mark Hanna in a restaurant.

Most of the women in this film appear in various stages of undress but it’s good to see our own Joanna Lumley (fully clothed) in a cameo which she serves up perfectly.

Whatever you think of Belfort and his extreme lifestyle and views on life (watch out for a brief cameo from him towards the end of the film) Scorsese and his team have served up an entertaining movie that probably will feature when the awards are handed out.

A final word goes to the music, some good tracks from the era mixed with classic blues from Howlin’ Wolf and John Lee Hooker.

Film details: The Wolf of Wall Street (18) 180mins

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley