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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

‘Wolf of Wall Street,’ a raunchy, riveting ride

Published: January 17, 2014
Section: Arts, Etc.

“The Wolf of Wall Street,” a rivet- ing black comedy directed by Martin Scorsese, tells the true story of Jordan Belfort’s success and eventual down- fall as a stockbroker.

Belfort, played by Leonardo Di- Caprio, starts out as an ethical young man selling penny stocks who even- tually makes enough money to start his own small firm. As he gains success, Belfort sheds all of his morals and learns to lie to his clients to get them to invest large amounts of money in stock, from which Belfort receives a large commission.

Belfort hires some friends, and together they become very wealthy in a short amount of time. As Belfort and his team become more successful, his life starts to spiral out of control.

He cheats on his wife, becomes a drug addict and is perpetually drunk. Belfort then remarries and becomes even more successful, moving into a mansion on Long Island anpurchasing an exquisite yacht.

For a short while he has the perfect life: He is content with his wife, able to sail or fly off to Europe at his leisure, has sex almost constantly, is a millionaire and has children. How- ever, the FBI suspects him of fraud and money laundering and begins toinvestigate him and his firm.

Belfort uses his wife’s English aunt as a means of transferring money he has indeed laundered through his firm in a Swiss bank, where the federal government cannot take it.

He takes a deal to step down from his firm, not be persecuted by the government and keep all of his money.At the last minute, he decides to stay at his firm because he is so passionate about the empire he has built.

During this time, Belfort severely abuses alcohol and Quaaludes, a powerful drug.

He is unhappy at home and begins to abuse his wife, going so far as to almost kidnap his own daughter when his wife threatens to divorce him.

Belfort and his best friend and co- worker Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) ingested so many drugs one night, they could not walk or speak coherently, yet he drove and totaled his sports car.

In short, Belfort was a mess, and as the FBI closed in on his empire, Belfort met his downfall.

DiCaprio gave a flawless performance as Jordan Belfort. He totally encompasses all of Belfort’s cockiness, sense of entitlement, and sleaziness. He also embodies Belfort’s sense of naiveté, morality and ignorance that is present in the beginning of the movie. DiCaprio was the ideal choice for a bold and transformative character such as Belfort. Another memorable character was Donnie, who was brought to life as somewhat stupid yet extremely compassionate.

Jonah Hill plays the role as a fierce friend and follower of Belfort, as well as an avid partier and drug abuser. Finally, both of Jordan’s wives do an incredible job in this film. Cristin Milioti, who played Belfort’s first wife, Teresa, does wonders in personifying innocence and being an outsider. She gives a very memorable performance, especially when Jordan cheats on her and she tearfully confronts him. Margot Robbie, who plays Jordan’s second wife, Naomi, also perfects a transformative role from seductive and loving wife to an exhausted victim of Belfort’s emotionally and physically abusive lifestyle.

Although this was an entertaining movie, it would greatly benefit from some improvements.
For a movie with a relatively simple plot, it was almost too long, a surprising three hours. The initial premiere date was delayed when some of the original film was cut, but the film remains so long that some viewers
might have trouble maintaining interest in the movie. This film is not for the faint hearted or for those who mind a lot of sex on screen: There is an excess of risque scenes in this movie, so much that it would probably be considered porn by some people,

Other potentially upsetting elements of the movie include physical abuse and addiction. The excessive amounts of sex, drugs and the consequences of both presented in such a raw and real way are essential to the film’s message of depravity and deceit, but becomes tiring after a while.

A fantastic aspect of this movie is hat it is not biased in any direction: It allows the audience members to formulate their own opinions about Belfort and his decisions and lifestyle. This film does an excellent job of portraying to the audience the money and drugs that run rampant in corrupt and wealthy firms such as Stratton Oakmont, Belfort’s firm.

The role of Belfort contextually mirrors DiCaprio’s role in “The Great Gatsby,” a film that also focuses on ideas of wealth, corruption and the downfall of dreams. Apart from being brazenly explicit, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is a fantastic and entertaining movie that will be hard to forget.