Review: ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (MA) ****

Leonardo-DiCaprio-as-Jordan-Belfort-in-The-Wolf-of-Wall-Street-2013IN Martin Scorsese’s filmography ranging from the gangster viciousness of “Goodfellas” to the sweetly compassionate humanity of “Hugo”, “The Wolf of Wall Street” fits into no single category of styles and themes.

Some might consider it pure comedy with a sprinkle of chilli powder, charting the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) among the delights and dangers of acquiring more money than he could ever need by creating a brokerage firm that aggressively sells “penny” stock (opening at less that $1) offering a high-risk way for small investors to get into the stockmarket.

Some might consider it a perceptive sniff of the dirty linen of people seduced by louche lifestyles among the uber-wealthy wallowing in conspicuous consumption of fripperies, mind-altering drugs, frankly-depicted sexual shenanigans and the accretion, by financial manipulation of less investment-savvy clients, of personal wealth bases leading to indefensible power.

Others might think it a modern morality tale in which a bad guy has fun scaling a pinnacle of iniquity from which a good guy eventually dislodges him.

These three theme lines make for 179 marvellous and stimulating minutes (including long credits) of entertaining, beautifully crafted, unrestrained cinema that may well collect Academy Awards next month. In particular, to Scorsese for meticulous command of imagination and detail in every aspect of its creating and the self-confident courage to defy most of the remaining shibboleths of American mainstream cinema, and to DiCaprio for a spectacular performance.

 At all cinemas

 

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