wolf of wall street

The Wolf of Wall Street

Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie

Directed by Martin Scorsese
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 4
Community: star rating
5 4 0
December 18, 2013

Pow. Pow. Pow. Pow. Pow. That's how Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street comes at you. I could have taken a few more pows – which shows how much fun it is to spar with this frisky badboy. You probably hate that it runs three hours. Yeah, like we don't spend that much time every effing day exchanging banalities on digital media. This is Scorsese, people, delivering a cinematic landmark. Look closely and you might see your own venal fantasies in how these Wall Street scumbags spend their ill-gotten gains on drugs, hookers, cars, yachts and jets. Working with a gutsy script by The Sopranos' Terence Winter, Scorsese is jabbing hard at America's jackpot culture. The laughs are merciless and nonstop, every one with a sting in its tail.

If that's too much for you, go watch The Sound of Music. Scorsese doesn't coddle. Wolf snarls and bites, but you won't forget for a second that you're in the hands of a master filmmaker. Once again, following Goodfellas and Casino, Scorsese has his eye on money and how it moves through society, top to bottom. The stock scammers of Wolf don't carry guns or run gambling dens. Greed is their bond, and they wear it like a second skin.

Front and center is Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a New York broker with the talent to sell you nightmares disguised as dreams. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Belfort moved from hawking penny stocks in boiler rooms to founding Stratton Oakmont, a Long Island firm that ran the same hustle in a classier office. Belfort eventually did 22 months of jail time for his sins. But what sins! In his 2007 autobiography, the source for Winter's script, Belfort detailed excesses that would shame Roman emperors. Scorsese and camera whiz Rodrigo Prieto (Amores Perros) don't skimp on the decadence. Putting on the brakes is the problem for Belfort and his top wingman, Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill starts at terrific and builds from there). For them, no time is wrong for an orgy or a new hustle. Quaaludes are the drug of choice for these masters of the universe. One scene, in which a 'luded-out Belfort drives home from a country club, is for-the-ages hilarious. And scary. That's the point.

DiCaprio's swaggering, swinging-dick performance is the wildest damn thing he's ever put onscreen. Whether he's lying to his trophy wife, Naomi (Aussie actress Margot Robbie in a star-making role), breaking frame to talk to the camera or rallying his troops like a hopped-up Braveheart, DiCaprio is a marvel. Wolf is his fifth film with Scorsese, and they're still daring each other, still pushing the limits.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “You Oughta Know”

    Alanis Morissette | 1995

    This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

    More Song Stories entries »