The Wolf of Wall Street is Martin Scorsese’s most successful movie to date. It’s a biographical black comedy about Jordan Belfort, who is an absolute piece of shit. A little bit of creative license has been employed, but almost everything seen on screen actually happened to the real Belfort.
Belfort was originally a stockbroker for L.F. Rothschild. The story starts in the ‘80s and rolls into the ‘90s, and is about his dodgy dealings and very profound addiction to cocaine and Quaaludes. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Belfort, and it ends up being this crazy film. You hate the guy from the get-go—he is an awful human being. It’s not like one of those cases like in Goodfellas, where the guy is a shithead but kind of likeable, this guy is a monster.
He loses his job at Rothschilds on Black Monday, the ‘80s stock-market crash, when that firm collapsed. He becomes friends with Donny Azoff (Jonah Hill), who he takes under his wing. They start a new brokerage firm, Stratton Oakmont, and rise to power on Wall Street. They’re the biggest thing since sliced bread, and he soon earns his “Wolf of Wall Street” nickname. His deals are not necessarily legal, and he cons a lot of people, plus he’s dealing with this insane drug addiction. Eventually, Belfort was jailed for securities fraud.
It’s an absolutely wild ride through late-stage capitalism and showcases just how horrible the people are who work in Wall Street. Leo gives a brilliant comedic performance—the Quaalude scene is some of the best slapstick comedy you will ever see. Matthew McConaughey, who plays another broker who gives Leo’s character some advice, has a very memorable chest pumping scene. The Wolf of Wall Street was the film that really blew up Margot Robbie’s career in the US (she was already something of a star in Europe because of the show Pan Am)—she plays Belfort’s wife.
It’s brilliantly edited by Thelma Shoemaker, despite it’s three-hour movie, but it flies because her she knows how to cut and how to pace a scene), with great use of music—all the stuff you’d expect from Scorsese. It’s just a riot, with some great stunt casting that included the return of Rob Reiner as an actor, and Joanne Lumley as Robbie’s Aunt Emma. If this had been Scorsese’s last film, it would have been a great one to end on however luckily for us he is even more prolific than ever. Fun fact: The Wolf of Wall Street had the most uses of the word “fuck” in a film, until SwearNet: The Movie doubled its record.
This 4K release includes all of the featurettes that were on the Universal release, along with commentary featuring critics Glenn Kenny and Nick Pinkerton, an intro by Ian Christie (editor of Scorsese on Scorsese), a new interview with screenwriter Terence Winter, another with production designer Bob Shaw, and a couple of visual essays the first one is from film critic Simon Ward on Scorsese’s underappreciated dark humour, and one called Planet Hollywolf with Matty Budrewicz and Dave Wain of The Schlock Pit. That one covers Belfort’s career as a low-budget movie producer (Belfort has produced eight films, including two with Hulk Hogan, one with Bruce Campbell, and two directed by famous schlockmeister David DeCoteau.) This is combined with the usual image gallery, trailers and such, plus a booklet with new writing from film critics Sean Hogan, Will Menaker and Jourdain Searles.