– If the movies are a reflection of Wall Street, oh my, we’re in trouble.

Cast:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margo Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jean Dujardin, Christine Ebersole and others.

Directed by Martin Scorsese, Screenplay by Terence Winter, based on a book by Jordan Belfort

A true story based on the activities of Wall Street broker Jordan Belfort, who is played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

 

Drugs, booze, sex, and not necessarily in that order, but they all take second place to MONEY.  That’s the message here, folks.  We meet a young Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) as he first enters the world of the stock market as a sales telemarketer – naïve, bright-eyed, pure as the driven snow.  But then he meets the veterans of the industry, and so begins the high-powered life, complete with cheating on wives, whoring, drinking, drugging, and making money with the total disregard of the investors.  Leo D. does a great job showing an acting range from charm to lechery to smooth operator to self-involved drug addict.  The DiCaprio character is the rags to riches story who for sure prefers the riches side.  The first wife is abandoned in favor of a glamour gal Naomi (Margo Robbie).  Money is made and the materialism begins, despite the fact that the man claims to not be in it for the things… cars, homes, yachts, clothing, jewelry, and all the vices money can buy.  Eventually, the lifestyle catches up with him – but we are left with the thought that he is merely slowed down, not stopped.

We sure wish he was stopped – he and his company and his employees all, creeps that they are.  There are not many likable characters in this movie – if you think you’re going to see Jonah Hill play the same nerd you saw in MONEYBALL – well, no.  You could almost say Leonardo plays a similar character as he did as check forger Frank Abignale in CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, but in that one, he was likable and did his crime for the thrill.  This time, he is after the money plain and simple.  Margo Robbie as the trophy wife should be up for a best supporting nomination for her ability to blend New Jersey Bimbo and intelligent wife into one role – we’ll see more of her.  Rob Reiner is no meathead here – he plays DiCaprio’s father with a strong ‘other generation’ man with anger and the appropriate scowling.  Jean Dujardin plays the Swiss banker who agrees to help out with a degree of sleaze that he never needed to access as an actor as the silent movie star in THE ARTIST.   It is an impressive cast – no need here to have to absolutely have a ‘name’ in the show to make it work…. Yes, big names like DiCaprio and McConaughey, but I can’t imagine they were here to sell the show.

 

Some acting moments: Leo giving his speeches as the leader of his company, teaching them the art of making the sale at all costs, the trophy wife’s speech when she finds her husband fooling around with other women, Jonah’s speech as he schmoozes with Leo’s character – but I say too much here.

 

Visually, the costuming and sets are true to the late 1980s – just after the stock market collapse of 1987…. The class of three piece suits, business outfits for the women, and the offices with the necessary business appeal of the day …. Suspended ceilings, fluorescent lights, and phones that actually ring instead of buzz, hum or sing a song.  The pace moves along quite well… the only semi-slow scene occurs when FBI agent Denhan (Kyle Chandler) and Leo’s character spar over whether or not a bribe has been offered …. And you will – unless you’re totally blind or not looking, see full frontal nudity from above and below and often.  Bring your bleeper if you don’t want to hear any F-bombs, but you will be very busy using it – that word comes up as often as if it were a common everyday word for most of us.

 

There will be some awards for this film…. Acting and directing seem the likely ones.  It is rough, it is harsh, it is in your face – nonetheless, a well done film.

 

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