This year, Martin Scorsese offered us a heavy, deadly dose of sex, drugs and money in The Wolf Of Wall Street, a film following the true story of dodgy stockbroker Jordan Belfort.
It's the typical rise and fall tale except that the rise is ridiculously high and the fall is cushioned by a nice, big pillow filled with dough. Think Citizen Kane meets Scarface with a dash of Caligula. The film is fast-paced to say the least and drops you into this cocaine-infused spiral of debauchery and obscene wealth without mercy. Leonardo Di Caprio plays Belfort and, breaking the fourth wall every so often, tells us all about how he basically crooked his way into that lifestyle. The character is likeable yet also repulsive, not only because of his greedy, selfish and careless personality but because the idea of one douchebag was living it up thanks to some shady deals and phone-calls while so many were struggling to make ends meet is one that hits close to home these days. The reason why we don't hate Belfort completely and just don't wish his demise constantly is because we're curious to see how he falls on his arse and because his grotesque use of all types of speedy drugs leads to some genuinely hysterical moments. One scene that's likely to go down as one of the great drug scenes in movies is Belfort and his partner Donnie's (Jonah Hill) back-firing use of way too many old "Lemons" which they thought weren't working but which in fact had a delayed reaction: the result is hilarious.
The film isn't just a great movie, it's a great comedy and casting people like Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Jean Dujardin and Rob Reiner certainly helped making it just that. It's a spot-on cast and easily one of Di Caprio's most confident, stand-out performances to date. The guy delivers enough charm and sleaze to give us a pretty good idea of what this guy's about pretty quickly. Whether he's making loud speeches which turn his people into adoring primitive drones, sticking candles up his bum or subtly trying to bribe Kyle Chandler's cop, this stockbroking pig is one entertaining dude and it's hard to look away or get bored by his demented, questionable antics. Margot Robbie shows up about an hour in or slightly less and becomes Jordan's sexy, ever-so-slightly vulgar pin-up girlfriend, thereby completing Jordan's quirky little "family". Belfort somehow still finds time for hookers, dodgy deals in Switzerland, and making out with Joanna Lumley of all people, though. The film does well to not be too predictable, despite the fact that we've seen that kind of story arc before, this is mostly due to the vast amount of really good, very funny little stand-out scenes which help take the film weird places you probably didn't expect it to go to: Hill's wasted Donnie attempting to masturbate in public, smoking crack with Jordan then just running out into the street, Rob Reiner's tempered introduction and a long, serious discussion involving which little people to hire in order to literally throw them across the office are highlights.
Overall, The Wolf Of Wall Street is a long Martin Scorsese movie but a great Martin Scorsese movie. It has all the energy, sharp writing, humour and iconic moments you'd expect from some of the director's work pre-The Aviator and it's easily one of the best films of 2013. It's something of a must-see, Leonardo Di Caprio's performance is worth the ticket alone.
An instant hit.