Based on the autobiography of Jordan Belfort, this peek into American lives rife with avarice and corruption marks the fifth collaboration between director Martin Scorsese and Leonardo diCaprio.
The veteran auteur brings his hyperbolic visual style to his 23rd fiction feature which charts the rise and fall of the infamous Wall Street stockbroker through the 1990’s.
Anchored by a super-charged performance by DiCaprio (who also provides the somewhat unreliable narration), the newbie broker lands his first gig at an investment company which goes bust during the market free-fall of 1987.
Unfazed, the young man forms his own brokerage firm. Defrauding investors of fortunes, Jordan and his partners earn millions of dollars a week. Their lives soon spiral out of control in a binge of alcohol, drugs and recklessness.
Later, FBI agents cotton on to their unscrupulous dealings and their ill-gotten wealth goes up in flames. The film is at its best during the first half but loses momentum during the long-drawn running time of three hours. Though it does not measure up to GoodFellas (1990) or Casino (1995), the two previous Scorsese masterworks with which it shares thematic similarities, The Wolf of Wall Street still makes for compelling viewing.