Why the Wolf of Wall Street is Freakin' Awesome

“The most fun you've ever had on the road to damnation” 

One of several big films in this years awards season, The Wolf of Wall Street is the latest outing for director Martin Scorcese, and his perennial lead, Leonardo DiCaprio, and is based on the book of the same name that recounts the lives and extravagancies of the author, Jordan Belfort.

I'll begin by saying that there has been a vocal opposition to this film, claiming that it glorifies bad behaviour, and is unpalatably hedonistic. If I'm honest, I can see where they are coming from; the film is unrelenting in it's depiction of this highway to hell, and I can certainly imagine it being unpalatable to some. That being said, it does show the consequences of such a lifestyle, and even if Belfort comes across as sad it's over, rather than remorseful it ever happened, it still has impact.

“Drugs: They make you do weird things”

With that out of the way, I can move on to the reasons why I think it's one of – if not the – best film of the year. I'll start off with the humour. With wit, charm, expert timing and visual gags a plenty, this is, undoubtedly, a laugh a minute film; indeed, it is rare that I laugh so hard and so often, and I'd go so far as to say that - with a run time more akin to serious drama - it was actually exhaustingly funny. With some of the most outrageously funny gags, one-liners and conversations in recent memory, the film is also insanely quotable; from a straight-faced conversation about the merits of throwing a dwarf at a dart board, to the motivational speeches given by Belfort, you'll find yourself reciting this film with friends for a long time after.

The acting in this film is phenomenal. Every single person, from the leads, to the supports to the cameo appearances leave a mark, and absolutely become their characters. DiCaprio is, typically, outstanding, and injects an unrivalled sense of enthusiasm and energy into the Belfort character that rivals anything he's done before; I sincerely hope he wins the Oscar, and not just because he has been snubbed so many times. Jonah Hill is also fantastic as Belforts best friend, Donnie Azoff, in a role that should silence a lot of his critics.

“Bacchus would be proud”

Of the rest of the supporting cast, Margot Robbie does an admirable turn as Belforts smoking hot second wife, who slowly becomes alienated by his hedonistic ways. Rob Reiner is brilliant as Belforts short-fused father, Max, who also provides wisdom and guidance for his son – which is subsequently ignored at almost every turn. P.J. Byrne, Jon Bernthal, Joanna Lumley and more all have brilliant turns, but for me (and I'm sure many others) the standout support/cameo turn is by Matthew McConaughey as Mark Hanna, Belforts first boss on Wall Street that teaches him the ropes and talks freely and hilariously about drugs, booze and masturbation.

In terms of visuals, the film is typical Scorcese brilliance; highly saturated, fast-paced and ultimately stunning, every single scene is injected with a sense of wonder and extravagence. He masterfully dances through bachanalian orgies, drug-fuelled office days and domestic dramas with equal aplomb and, whilst he's got incredibly strong competition this year – if I'm honest, I'm expecting it to go to either Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity or Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave – he would be a deserving winner and is absolutely deserving of the nomination.

“I guarantee you that you'll be doing McConaughey's chest banging chant for years”

All in all, despite little in the way of story and even less in the way of consequence, The Wolf of Wall Street is a thoroughly enjoyable wild ride that will have you laughing till you're blue in the face, and leave you hugely appreciative of its cinematic wonder.

Final Score: 10/10

This has been Blacksmith, writing for The Awesome Update.

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