The Wolf of Wall Street – A Popeye Story of Sex, Drugs, and Stock Brokering


I was so excited to see the next Martin Scorsese film when I heard that he and Leonardo DiCaprio would be teaming up again. I am a fan of the combination and such adventures as the Aviator, Shutter Island, The Departed, and Gangs of New York. It says a lot about the relationship of these individuals and how much effort is put in to creating such enviable characters in each of these films that I can honestly say Jordan Belfort (Wolf of Wall Street) is my FAVORITE!

This is a true story based on the memoir of Jordan Belfort, played by DiCaprio. DiCaprio morphs into this role of a true to life Popeye who uses sex, drugs, and money as spinach to get through his day. The movie shows this come-from-nothing tale and how DiCaprio took selling penny stocks to an all time high. Belfort and his associates create the Stratton Oakmont firm and even have a hand in the initial IPO of the Steve Madden shoe line. All of this grandeur comes with a fair price of greed and deception. Mad Max Belfort (Rob Reiner) discusses chickens coming to roost, and as with most graphic tales loaded with underhanded journeys, all hell does in fact break loose. The story of Jordan Belfort is one of excess, debauchery, and flat-out insanity. I would recommend this film based on the storyline alone, but there is so much more to it.

As with any ensemble cast, it is a difficult task to give each of the characters an identity. Throughout this 3-hour affair, many characters come into Belfort’s life that have a profound impact on the story but also add to the film. First up is Matthew McConaughey playing Mark Hanna. I could write a whole piece about how great McConaughey’s year has been and for the time he is in this film you will recognize that he has taken his career to a new level. Hanna is the senior broker who takes Belfort under his wing and lets him know that is it all about “taking money out of their pocket and putting it in yours.” The lunch scene is the true testament to creating meaning in a minor character to the point that you still want to see more of them when they are gone. One character that the story did focus a bit more on was Donnie Azoff, played by Jonah Hill.

The first thing you notice about Azoff are his teeth. They are huge and white and for some odd reason make you want to see him get punched in the face when all is said and done. He is Belfort’s sleazy partner in crime who rises up through the ranks in the penny stock market. He is always there to cash in on the sex, drugs, and insanity that Jordan puts himself through on a daily basis. Hill does a fine job in this role and makes me believe now more than ever that he will always be a bridesmaid and never the bride. Jordan’s relationship with Azoff was tested throughout the film but these two friends lived through wickedness on a daily basis. The Wolf of Wall Street covers this relationship at depth, but there is another relationship that I felt was special, that of Belfort and his wife Naomi played by Margot Robbie.

Let me first ay that Margot Robbie is an incredible sight. When she is first introduced in the film, you can tell that this is a woman is something special. Her relationship with Belfort is forged on sex and money and there is plenty to go around. I am glad that Scorsese didn’t shy away from the nudity that goes along with these scenes. It gives Naomi (Robbie) a sense of sensuality, which is lacking with the other female characters in the film. Naomi’s character is very surface level and it isn’t until the end that you see any kind of depth from her. That almost seems to be what Belfort is all about: the surface. His true feelings are tied into the sex, drugs, and money that he deals with and wants more and more every day. His need for consumption of these things causes him to ruin the relationships in his life and leads him to a road of misery, so to speak.

I want to take a moment and say that this movie is not for everyone. I counted eight people who left during the film during various scenes of sex, nudity, drug use, and profanity. The word Fuck is used more than 100 times, but it FITS with the theme of the story. Scorsese puts together a three-hour adrenaline ride that made me laugh out loud, wonder what the hell was going on with these people, and stay focused to see what the next turn would be. This was the most fun I had at the movie theater all year and I am ranking it on top of my list for movies from 2013. Here is my complete list of movies I saw that were released this year.

      1. The Wolf of Wall Street
      2. The Way Way Back
      3. Star Trek Into Darkness
      4. 12 Years a Slave
      5. Mud
      6. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
      7. Man of Steel
      8. Parkland
      9. OZ the Great and Powerful
      10. Fast and Furious 6
      11. Lovelace
      12. Hangover Part III
      13. The Counselor
      14. Don Jon
      15. 42
      16. The Internship
      17. This is the End
      18. Gangster Squad
      19. Movie 43
      20. Dead Man Down

I am really looking forward to what 2014 has to offer. Have a safe holiday and a Happy New Year!