Based on Jordan Belfort’s memoir, this film is essentially a true story. Written by Terence Winter and directed by Martin Scorsese this is an ambitious movie that aims very high but it’s length and excesses (much like the main characters in the film) prevent it from being a great one, like “The Departed”.
Much like a film by Tarantino the movie has many great scenes and is often very funny. The acting is uniformly excellent and DiCaprio gives another AWW performance.
Jordan Belfort (Leonardo Dicaprio) wants to make it big on Wall Street. At first he joins a traditional brokerage house where he is mentored by Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughy). Unfortunately, the firm goes bust after the October 1987 crash.
Jordan then joins a stock boiler room operation on Long Island that “pumps and dumps” penny stocks onto suckers. (He gets a 50% commission!) He teaches the handful of brokers there how to sell and eventually grows the firm to about 1,000 brokers! He is a “reverse Robin Hood” who steals from the poor and vastly increases his net worth. (He even made $49 million in one year!) He leaves his devoted wife to marry a beautiful woman (Naomi Lapaglia-Margot Robbie). Even with a beautiful wife, however; he is addicted to prostitutes. He also is addicted to just about every drug in the known universe.
The film documents his meteoric rise in the 80s-90s and his eventual downfall. Jordon’s father (Max Belfort-Rob Reiner) tries to keep him out of harm’s way but to no avail. The film demonstrates well how Jordan rose and fell but doesn’t explain what made this man such a greedy, narcissistic, asshole. (Jordon probably doesn’t even know why either. Amazingly, the way Dicaprio plays him, he’s almost likable.)
Jordon broke numerous rules and regulations and finally gets taken down by an FBI agent (Kyle Chandler-Patrick Denham)
The film is 3 hours and it’s about 45 minutes too long. There are numerous scenes of orgies and/or drug abuse. Like most men, I enjoy seeing beautiful, naked women but the film didn’t need to keep showing these types of scenes over and over.