Eight years after the Joker's reign of anarchy, the Dark Knight, with the help of the enigmatic Selina, is forced from his imposed exile to save Gotham City, now on the edge of total annihilation, from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane.
Jordan Belfort is a Long Island penny stockbroker who served 22 months in prison for defrauding investors in a massive 1990s securities scam that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street and in the corporate banking world, including shoe designer Steve Madden. Written by
If you've seen The Goodfellas or Casino, then you'll know the story of The Wolf of Wall Street. This is another tale of a criminal whose ambitions sweep him away into a debauched world of dirty money, out-of-control substance abuse, endless lies, a troubled family life, and a downward spiral of corruption that inevitably leads to his own undoing. Only thing is, this is less about the gangsters and mafia, and more about white-collar crime. The guys wear suits, work in proper offices, and everything they do is just business; funnily enough, this whole movie still plays out like a kind of gangster film.
Based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort - the real-life stock broker who made millions by selling shoddy stocks to average joes - the film showcases one seriously messed-up slimeball of a man. If his scheme sounds familiar, it's because it's been the inspiration behind the 2000 film Boiler Room, and this film covers much of the same concepts, albeit with better structure. The film maintains a close and intimate focus on the man as he rises to power, suckers thousands into his schemes, and then lives a life of extreme excess. And it is extreme: the whole film becomes laden with drugs, sex, superficial luxuries, material things, and characters who want nothing more than to take and consume everything. The sheer corruption becomes palpable on-screen, and I couldn't help but to shake my head at numerous scenes when I saw just how far these wolfish characters have gone in their unrestrained partying and debauchery. I have no clue as to how closely this film adapts the real-life events, but at times it's almost hard to believe that things could have gone this far. And yet, the excesses serve to underscore key themes and criticisms on the American dream; the pursuit of money and success, through any means, remains the main drive of the characters and the movie, and it leads to a fairly hard-hitting downfall.
This film features good-looking photography and editing. Acting is great: Leonardo DiCaprio is practically perfect as the titular character, and the rest of the cast pulls their weight really well (including Jonah Hill, who seems to fit into his character's archetype very comfortably). Writing is really sharp and good; the film is full of great lines and great speeches. There are some great-looking sets, props, and costumes on display in this film. Music has a varied mix of songs, and they're all used really well for their intended effect.
The Wolf of Wall Street is every bit as good as Martin Scorsese's previous work with The Goodfellas and Casino. All these films work with similar plots and themes, but TWOWS is like a gangster film masked by the thin veil of upper-class corporate swindling. It is a film that candidly shows the crimes and excesses in full, before proving that, even for the super-rich, crime still doesn't pay.
Recommended! 4.5/5 (Entertainment: Good | Story: Very Good | Film: Perfect)
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