|A scene from “The Wolf of Wall Street.” (Official website)|
LOS ANGELES (AP) ― Digging into deep-pocket gluttony, Martin Scorsese’s dark comedy “The Wolf of Wall Street” highlights a world rich in drugs, fast cars and private jets. The American dream is amplified, yet those indulging in it are never satisfied.
In the film’s opening segment, trading tycoon Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, declares, “Money is the best drug. It makes you a better person.” This was the motto fueling a host of hustling stockbrokers in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and it sets the tone for Scorsese’s commentary on the extravagance of our twisted financial culture.
As we’ve seen in his films “Goodfellas” and “Casino,” Scorsese is keen on illuminating power struggles among a brutal backdrop. But in “Wolf,” swindling is the central vice, while violence is pale.
Adapted by Terence Winter (“The Sopranos”), “Wolf” is based on a memoir by the real Jordan Belfort, who became a multi-millionaire at 26 and served 22 months in prison for securities fraud and money-laundering before becoming a best-selling author and motivational speaker.
As Jordan, DiCaprio, snorts cocaine off hookers, receives oral sex while speeding in his Miami Vice-esq Ferrari and nearly crashes his helicopter. His excessive antics carry over into his office, where brokers indulge in trysts with prostitutes and pop pills daily.
At nearly three hours, Scorsese’s manic masterpiece is a surplus of extravagance. But the extra minutes give way for the film’s funniest sequence: Jordan and Donnie crawl on the floor attempting to fight despite their impaired speech and motor skills due to a delayed reaction to a batch of old Quaaludes. The heavy humor finds the endlessly hilarious Hill securing his place in Hollywood and sees DiCaprio reaching new comedic heights.