The Wolf Of Wall Street - Blu-ray Review

'Scorsese does build up the 'pretty' façades, but only so that he can subtly tear them down.'

The central question around The Wolf Of Wall Street has very clearly been to do with whether you can critique a group of people (a whole industry arguably) whilst at the same time allowing them to revel on-screen in an apparently exciting boulangerie of drugs, drink and nakedness.

If the film was helmed by anyone other than Martin Scorsese then perhaps that question would feel more open to debate but for me, Scorsese has never been a director to let his plot get in the way of his aims: he is an all seeing eye and his films are all the better for it. Yes, The Departed is exciting, but Scorsese leaves no-one without blame, no doubt in anyone's mind that crime affects all. No one gets away clean, or even alive, in many cases.

The way that manifests itself within The Wolf Of Wall Street is through Scorsese directing scenes as if we are in a drug-fuelled party land (something like Go, perhaps), whilst undercutting the scene's morals and 'fun' with laser-guided pieces of reveal around the character of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his cronies. Two stand out. In one scene, a sales assistant has her head shaved for a cash bonus. The laddish contingent of the office think it is hilarious. It is arguably the film's saddest moment. In another, which vies with that scene, Belfort delivers a typically egotistical address from his firm's podium, during which he thinks he has provided Kimmie (Stephanie Kurtzuba) (and himself) with a glowing aura. What he has actually done has undermined her high and powerful status in a world full of men.

As the film progresses, the walls fall down in more significant ways. Yes, Jordan has the model girlfriend and eventually wife (Margot Robbie), the gigantic house and the fast cars, and all looks extremely good on the outside. Reality? Their relationship is violent and horrible and it culminates in Jordan crashing his car whilst trying to kidnap his own child, who is also in the vehicle. His expensive car is wrecked, his house becomes an ankle-tag controlled prison. Scorsese does build up the 'pretty' façades, but only so that he can subtly tear them down.

Scorsese's message emerges thus: yes these people had a lot of what they thought of as fun, whilst they robbed your money from under your nose. No, that fun was not as exciting as you think it might have been in any way. Actually, much of it was horrible, dangerous and unpleasant, a bit like the people involved.

If there's a criticism, and there is a significant one, it's that there's too much here. There is no way this needed to be epic in length and many of the party scenes add little or nothing, allowing the director's intention to be questioned. I still think it rings true, but you can see why the debate exists. A bit more editing could have gone a long way.




The Wolf Of Wall Street is released on UK Blu-ray and DVD from Monday 19th May.


By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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