Review: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street Poster

“This right here is the land of opportunity. This is America. This is my home! The show goes on!”
– Jordan Belfort

Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a young and idealistic man with big dreams for his future and to make money, and establishes himself as a stockbroker at a frim on Wall Street. His lifestyle and what he thought he knew is drastically changed when Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) tells him what he should expect, and that sex and drugs are what will keep him going, and that making the clients’ money is not the name of the game. However, when Black Monday rolls around, Jordan finds himself without a job. When he is ready to give up, his wife Teresa Petrillo (Cristin Milioti) spots an ad in the paper for a company that is actually hiring stock brokers. Jordan goes for an interview, and after what he is used to on Wall Street is shocked to find a dilapidated old building with a bunch of rejects trading penny stocks.

wolf of wall street beginnings

“The name of the game, moving the money from the client’s pocket to your pocket.” – Mark Hanna

Desperate for work, Jordan takes it and makes a fortune trading the penny stocks. Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) approaches Jordan one day seeing as they live in the same apartment building. He cannot believe that Jordan makes the money he claims he does, but quits his job immediately to come and work for Jordan when he is shown a payslip indicating what Jordan earns. The two branch off and open up their own firm, and Jordan calls in his pot dealer friends to run it – Brad Bodnick (Jon Bernthal), Chester Ming (Kenneth Choi), Nicky “Rugrat” Koskoff (P. J. Byrne) and Alden “Sea Otter” Kupferberg (Henry Zebrowski). They come in and start making a lot of money on the penny stocks, and soon Jordan changes the name of the game. He calls the firm Stratton Oakmont, and they are going for the big fish now, selling off stock that people will recognise but making a fortune on the penny stock just under that. The company rapidly expands and becomes a billion-dollar company, with plenty of employees from whom he has garnered much respect and reverence.

the wolf of wall street jordan belfort

“This is the greatest company in the world!” – Jordan Belfort

Jordan is living the life of a rockstar – sex, drugs, money, prostitutes and endless entertainment is the name of the game. Jordan’s parents, “Mad” Max (Rob Reiner) and Leah (Christine Ebersole) are brought in to deal with the finances. Jordan’s marriage with Teresa collapses when he falls in love with Naomi Lapaglia (Margot Robbie). Jordan is addicted to all sorts of drugs and sleeping with numerous women. The marriage was doomed. Jordan and Naomi get married, and their new life together is supposed to be a glorious affair for a while. They even have a daughter named Skylet together. The FBI, meanwhile, has started looking into the dealings at Stratton Oakmont, and is headed up by agent Denham (Kyle Chandler). The investigation continues and gains heat and momentum, and it is becoming more and more difficult for Jordan to hide the things that are going on in his firm, and things get back when Donnie and Brad get into a huge fight, and Brad gets locked up. Jordan is worried seeing as Brad has been helping smuggle his millions of dollars into Switzerland so that the FBI will not be able to track and/or seize it. As if matters are not bad enough, Jordan learns through his private investigator that the FBI has bugged his phones. Max tries to get Jordan to step down from Stratton Oakmont and take a deal, though Jordan refuses.

the wolf of wall street couple

“Was all this legal? Absolutely not!” – Jordan Belfort

With everything that is heating up, will Jordan be able to continue running the massive scams he is? Will Jordan be able to keep his money hidden and out of the eyes of the FBI? Will Jordan have to sit down and speak to the feds, making a deal with them and stick to it? If presented with such an offer, would he even take it? Will Jordan be able to go straight, both in terms of the business that he runs as well as with his drink and drugs? Will his company eventually collapse, be taken down in a brutal and thorough investigation? Will Jordan and Naomi be able to stay strong through whatever may come?

the wolf of wall street fbi chat

“Most of the Wall Street jackasses I bust are douchebags, just like their fathers before them. But you… you, Jordan, got this way all on your own.” – Patrick Denham

A 9/10 for The Wolf of Wall Street. I went in with really high expectations and will not even kid around – they were met to the extremes. I have been waiting for this movie forever, and made sure that I got to it this weekend. Leonardo DiCaprio just waltzed in and stole the show again, giving a hell of a performance as Jordan Belfort. He had no scruples, he had no boundaries, he did not care and embraced a dark and gritty, money-filled life and ran with it. Everything about the young man he was got lost, and so quickly, when he got onto Wall Street. His new life of drink, drugs and sex took over, and he had standards to maintain. DiCaprio plays Belfort with a specified flair, which is nothing short of what I had expected him to do. Jonah Hill gave a solid performance as Donnie, and he really was gross and disgusting but clever. I can see now why people have praised his performance. Seeing how everyone plays on Wall Street was a reward unto itself, and Scorsese was just amazing bringing the life and the feeling of everything to the screen. The soundtrack was fitting, the camera work amazing, everything came together so well! For a three hour movie it certainly zips by, keeping you hooked to the story and progression without an issue! You know you are going to get something beautiful when he and DiCaprio pull things together. I know that there were people that had moaned about the nudity and the swearing in this film, but trust me, it doesn’t detract from the viewing experience. It didn’t phase me in the least, though I know it is bound to make some uncomfortable. I really wish that this would be DiCaprio’s Oscar year, he really does deserve one. I laughed a hell of a lot in this movie, just at how ridiculous and ludicrous some of the things that they were doing were, how they just got away with things, how these people lived their lives and the things that they did. It’s disgusting and reprehensible, and nothing about Jordan Belfort says that he was sorry, though it is an interesting look back over the experiences he had. Overall it was a hell of a good watch and something that I would recommend going to see. Definitely my movie of 2013!

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64 thoughts on “Review: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

  1. CMrok93 says:

    Good review Zoe. It’s definitely a dirty movie that never slows itself up for a single second of its three hours, but it’s also a bunch of fun. Then again though, I could have just been in a really, really good mood when watching this.

    Like

  2. Tom says:

    YES!!!!!! So fantastic that you loved it as well. Saw this pop up in the WordPress feed and I instantly had to get in here.

    The Wolf might have been my personal favorite experience in a movie in the last couple of years. I know I had Rush at the top of my Digibread Awards and all that, but my goodness! Scorsese and DiCaprio team up again and just drop this bomb. . . .I’m glad you found the humor and chaos in it to be as enjoyable as I did. Though I definitely didn’t mind the language and the gratuitous nudity (I’m a guy, so natch. . . ) but it’s a little worrying because I feel like a lot more people aren’t going to go see this just because of those elements. Which to me is a shame.

    The Wolf of Wall Street is a film I think everyone should go see. And this is a great review of it.

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      I am so glad you were compelled to stop in and read about it. This movie is really the greatest film I have seen in cinemas in YEARS and I had an absolute blast. It is a shame that people will skip it due to nudity and language, as you say, they will be losing out on one of the best film experiences I have had in years.

      I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I laughed myself silly in places, though there is nothing here that says the man is sorry. Belfort is not sorry for what he did, only that it came to an end. However, it provided an entertaining story (though I expected nothing less from the duo).

      Thanks a lot Tom!

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      • Tom says:

        😀 You nailed it: that’s what made this film so special for me, with Scorsese’s direction being able to balance out the fact that Jordan Belfort’s situations a lot of the time were funny but ultimately sad. this was an unapologetic pig of a man that we end up laughing AT and not with. Just, genius.

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      • Zoë says:

        Ah, then I am not alone there! I agree, laughing AT him, not WITH him, he REALLY thought he was going to get away with it.

        You know the scene at the country club with the PI on the line with him? It was one of greatest belly laugh moments I have had in a long time!

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      • Tom says:

        I’m really embarrassed that I can’t recall that moment, but I’ll take your word for it for sure. The greatest scene i can recall right now (and I’m sure this is true of most people) is the cerebral palsy scene! Oh my god that was painfully funny. Add that to the list of reasons why Leo has a constantly expanding repertoire. Never seen him do comedy before.

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      • Zoë says:

        Sure you can, he crawled out to the Lamborghini right after he went straight into Cerebral Palsy phase of the drugs! 😛

        See, we are thinking of the same scene! I almost cried I laughed so hard!

        Ah, DiCaprio is just the greatest talent to hit Hollywood in decades!

        Like

      • Tom says:

        haha, that’s awesome. That is the same scene, then. Agreed. And you know what? he really is the greatest. Saw him give his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes and his was, A) one of the few that were really genuine-sounding and not filled with name-drops, and B) the most genuine of them all. Love this guy. What a class act.

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      • Zoë says:

        Yep yep, the same scene. It all kicks in while he is on the line with his PI 😛

        I didn’t see that… maybe I should go check it out on YouTube. The man is just amazing!

        Like

      • Tom says:

        Yeah you should! 🙂

        Its between that moment and the “get the luuuuuuudes” moment on the ship when they’re going through ridiculous weather. Of all the things in the world he could have thought about at that moment, all he could do was think about getting high!!

        It’s amazing I haven’t seen this twice in theaters yet, reading to my gushing here. I’m taking over your page!!!!

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      • Zoë says:

        Bwahahahaha! “I will not die sober!”. Shows you how his priorities were listed!

        Take over, I have no qualms, I have someone to gush with! 😛

        This is something that I am seriously contemplating seeing again. If it is still in theatre after payday I will most certainly be doing that (and I am not one to double watch a film in theatre!).

        Like

    • Tom says:

      how hard are you going to hit me if I admitted to seeing ‘Sign’s 6 times the year it came out. . .? should i not have admitted that?

      Like

      • Zoë says:

        LOL! I do not judge you! There are worse movies you could have seen (and Signs didn’t suck!).

        I think it is just overly expensive to go more than once here, and people can really piss me off in the cinemas!

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  3. Joseph@thecinemamonster says:

    Yes! Finally, you got around to this ;). So happy to hear it lived up to your expectations! My favourite flick of the year, hands down. Outstanding article, Zoe!

    P.S: I asked Margot Robbie to marry me on twitter, still awaiting a response…it’s been a while come to think of it. I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious…

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      I went the day after it was released, I just had to! It really was my favourite film of 2013. I really wish I could change my votes that I sent you haha! Thanks a million Joseph!

      Oh wow, congratulations man! Good to hear of such happiness for people! And she’s right up your alley, age and all! 😛

      Like

  4. sidekickreviews says:

    Leo definitively deserves an Oscar nom and he’s my choice to win it. There’s some tough competition for the Oscar though. Wolf exceeded my expectations and I didn’t expect it to be so funny. Great review Zoe!

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      He really, really needs to get it already! I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it so much! It was truly hilarious, and had me in stitches so often. Thanks!

      Like

  5. jjames36 says:

    Definitely a great year. Not my movie of the year, but it has a great shot at being in my final Top 5.

    I agree that DiCaprio deserves an Oscar. The problem is so do a whole slew of others: 1. Hanks; 2. McConaughey; 3. Ejiofer; 4. Whitaker; 5. Redford; 6. Phoenix; 7. Bale; 8. Probably someone else I’m currently forgetting. If DiCaprio wins, it will not be a mistake. If he doesn’t . . . well that won’t be a mistake, either. Just so many good performances in 2013.

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      I really, really loved this movie. Completely topped my expectations and then some!

      I wish someone would just let him have it already. You are right in that, there were so many damn fine performances this year!

      Like

      • jjames36 says:

        Honestly, as much as I like DiCaprio in Wolf, he’s still third, maybe fourth on my list. I’d give it to Hanks for Captain Phillips first. McConaughey for Dallas Buyer’s Club second and probably Ejiofer for 12 Years a Slave third.

        In my opinion, the real shame isn’t really even DiCaprio. It’s Redford, who has had an equally (if not more) esteemed career than Leo but has also never won an acting Oscar either. Unlike Leo, this might be Redford’s last shot, and in some years his performance in All Is Lost sweeps every award ceremony. But this year? This year he won’t even be nominated in many of them. We’ll see what happens with the Oscars.

        Like

      • Zoë says:

        Hmmmm, I suppose all that can happen now is wait and see. There were quite a few good flicks this year and the performances that actors and actresses brought to the table were simply phenomenal.

        That is true. I have not seen All Is Lost, but I heard that it was pretty decent?

        Like

      • jjames36 says:

        It’s good. (I gave it a B.) I would have liked a bit more character development, but the flick manages impressive displays of suspense and anticipation even without it.

        Definitely worth a watch.

        Like

      • Zoë says:

        Really not a bad score.

        I must say, there was so much humour in it, which I was not really expecting (the sheer amounts of it, that is). I thought there might be a funny scene or two, but then there were just uproarious moments that dominated the screen time! I loved how it all came together!

        Like

      • jjames36 says:

        Sorry. I gave All is Lost a B (and coming from me that is actually a very good score). 🙂

        Wolf of Wall Street I gave an A. I also love how it all comes together.

        Like

  6. theipc says:

    9 out of 10? Favorite movie of the year? YOWZA – high praise!

    I’ll watch it when it comes around : )

    Nice work!

    P.S. I thought of a nickname for you – if you ever rub me the wrong way : )

    (which I doubt you ever could) : )

    Like

  7. Popcorn Nights says:

    Sounds excellent! I am looking forward to it – out here this weekend I think so I will try and catch this and 12 Years A Slave sooner rather than later.

    Like

    • ruth says:

      I’m with you Keith. Doesn’t even factor in my Top 20.

      There were some parts that made me laugh, but overall it’s really not my cup of tea. Glad you love it though Zoe, always nice when a film you’ve been anticipating exceeds your expectations! 😀

      Like

      • Zoë says:

        Thanks Ruth! I love how everyone has such differing tastes!

        It really was fantastic (but this is right up my alley). My other half had such a blast with this film (which neither of us was really expecting, he just took me because I haven’t shut up about it for months). I was totally blown away.

        Like

  8. sati says:

    Glad you liked it! It’s such an entertaining movie and Hill is my win for Supporting Actor, as great as DiCaprio was I preferred McConaughey and Hanks this year. I agree the film really isn’t tiring considering it’s run time – there was just so much going on.

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      Yay for you! I hadn’t been that excited in a while, either (Skyfall and Gatsby were the last two that commanded my attention like that), and this just blew me away! I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about it, and I truly hope you enjoy it!

      Like

  9. Dan says:

    Great review Zoe. I haven’t seen this yet but I’m really looking forward to it. It seems Scorsese has delivered big time. Can his “wolf” pip 12 Years A Slave to the post and win Best Picture at the Academy Awards?

    Like

  10. table9mutant says:

    Great review! And we gave it the same rating! : ) I would LOVE for Leo to finally get an Oscar for this. He’s long overdue. I’d be shocked, though – it’s not the type of performance the Academy goes for. He was amazing, though. They all were. : )

    Like

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