2014 explodes onto the big screen with a dirty, frantic and crazed epic from Martin Scorsese, which brings laugh-out-loud black comedy of the darkest kind along with an overdose of seriously dubious morals.
This isn’t as nasty as Goodfellas or Casino but it does form the final part of a loose trilogy linked by a common theme.
The Wolf of Wall Street is highly entertaining and exquisitely made, boasting a AAA cast led by Leonardo Di Caprio on dazzling form as Belfort, a wannabe stockbroker who somehow managed to rake in millions through defrauding investors. The fact that much of this debauched tale is true is terrifying, but given the cases of corruption that dealings on Wall Street have thrown up over the years it is also all too believable.
Belfort is the ‘wolf’ of the title, a name bestowed on him by an admiring media, who starts a brokerage firm with the sole aim of ripping off as many people as possible.
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As the company grows, so does the crazy lifestyle of its employees – which includes massive drug use, lavish gluttony, over-the-top partying and sexual depravity on heavy rotation.
He is aided and abetted by his hand-picked team who include loser pal and general liability Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) and Nicky ‘Rugrat’ Koskoff (P.J. Byrne).
Also on hand are the women in Belfort’s life – long-suffering first wife Teresa Petrillo (Cristin Milioti), sexy second wife Naomi Lapaglia (Margot Robbie, who steams up the screen) and flirty Aunt Emma (the superb Joanna Lumley).
With the flamboyant excess of Belfort and his company being flaunted so openly, it’s no surprise when the FBI targets the apparently booming firm.
The cat and mouse game between agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) and Belfort is a lot of fun to watch.
Scorsese isn’t afraid to show the crime does not pay message at the end of the three hour running time, but it certainly does pay for a very long time.
This wolf delivers a wild, sweary ride that is worth the investment of your time, but it is not for the faint of heart or easily offended.