Monday, 27 January 2014

Three Hours Of Excess

We've a busy week ahead so we thought we'd fit our weekly cinema trip in early and headed off to Ipswich today for a noon screening at Cineworld

I don't know about you but I've said and done one or two things that I am not exactly proud of when I've over indulged (and they're just the ones I remember). But, in Martin Scorcese's brilliant The Wolf Of Wall St, Leonardo Di Caprio (as financial crook Jordan Belfort) in a performance that redefines the term "wide eyed and legless",has shown my very worst excesses to be but minor indiscretions.

The film is based upon the true story of Belfort who, at the peak of his criminal financial activity was "earning" $50 million a year and, if we are to believe the film, squandered a huge proportion of it on drinks, drugs and prostitutes. After losing his job as a broker on Wall St in the 80's crash he started out selling penny shares and persuading small savers to part with their well earned cash for worthless stocks. Carrying on from the success he went on to sucker rich investors into the same mistakes (but with a lot more noughts on the amounts involved).

At three hours long you would expect the film to drag but there was so much excess in his business (dwarf throwing, naked bandsmen, and in-house orgies during business hours to name some of the minor ones) that it's surprising that Scorcese has managed to fit it all in. It's an entirely convincing performance from DiCaprio who is on screen for most of the film and speaks to us (a la Miranda) in a number of pieces to camera. In fact Di Caprio is so good and depicts the drug addled Belfort as such a charismatic leader that you almost side with a character who would have made Caligula blush.

I'm surprised that the film managed to make it onto the screen uncut - it holds the current record for f words and there's a hell of a lot of naked flesh but it's a film about excess and it has to be excessive for it to work. As a study of corruption and charisma it is a one off. 

There's a good supporting cast including Jonah Hill as Belfort's right hand man, Margot Robbie as his trophy wife and Kyle Chandler as his FBI nemesis. Matthew McConaughey gives an incredible cameo performance as Belfort's first Wall St boss but the film is all about  Belfort and DiCaprio is outstanding in the role.