Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street

'The Wolf of Wall Street' is a satire about the 'greed is good adherents' who inhabited the towers of Wall Street in the jolly stock exchange years of the 1980s when riches were bountiful who then fell to earthly reality in the crash of 1987. The principal example in the film is Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) whose particular mix of charisma and salesmanship saw him at the pinnacle of an out of control stockbroking empire.

Martin Scorsese recreates the era with an over the top romp featuring exaggerated lifestyles filled with drug fuelled hyper sexual activities. At least I assume the portrayal is deliberately exaggerated. This approach amounts to a sledge hammer to demonstrate to the viewer the extent to which these individuals pursued excessive greed. Then again, isn't all greed by definition 'excessive'?

Hour after exhausting hour - the film runs for three hours - Scorsese imagines all manner of debauchery such that even with my liberal attitudes to the rawer aspects of life I started checking my watch with still 75 minutes of the film to run.

It is a strange paradox that prurient elements in the USA rage at a glimpse of female nipple in a 'wardrobe malfunction' on television on the one hand and on the other hand praise with multiple award nominations a film containing over the top sexual and drug addled innuendo and full body nudity amongst its delights.

The film is humorous in parts and DiCaprio delivers an impressive virtuoso performance but the film is overlong and I wonder what message Scorsese intends to deliver. Is it a crime does not pay message? If so, the comparative images of the pursuer travelling home modestly and anonymously by the underground whilst the convicted pursued is off on the international celebrity circuit would leave the impressionable thinking otherwise.

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