Decadence and excess on Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street Paramount Rating: 18A 179 minutes

It’s hard, sometimes, to know if The Wolf of Wall Street is a comedy or a tragedy (rather surprisingly, it’s been nominated for a Golden Globe for best comedy). However, you always know a Martin Scorcese movie will be a celebration of moviemaking and this film is no exception.

It opens with scenes of dwarf tossing at a company party, and there’s a kind of joyful depravity all the way through this tale based on the real life of New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort. He made a fortune in the 80s and 90s with high-pressure sales tactics and dishonest stock dealings, before the FBI caught up to him.

Leonardo DiCaprio, in an over the top performance, plays the charismatic salesman. His life is all about sell, sell, sell and decadent consumption. He`s also heavily into drugs and sex. After he starts his own company he rewards his staff with wild, orgiastic parties, which are hard to believe and not easy to watch. Not surprisingly, his dedication to hedonism wrecks his marriage and the rest of his life.

Most of the cast are into wildly exuberant performances too, including Jonah Hill as his business partner and Matthew McConaughy as one of his Wall Street mentors.

It’s not for all tastes but it’s a rollercoaster of a movie, probably too long (although Scorcese’s first cut was apparently an hour longer). No doubt, some viewers will be offended by the drugs, swearing and explicit sex.

Rating: four deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.