Scorsese based this film on Jordan Belfort's book by the same name. From here, one can only guess what was fact and what was fiction, but I'm sure a lot of the film can be supported by newspaper and magazine articles. As a film, this is a movie with a huge punch, dragging you along Belfort's path of self-destruction; you can't take your eyes off the screen. Maybe it was the fact that there was a lot of sex, in-your-face sex in 30' x 70' full view. I'm going to mention here that as the good mother that I am, I wanted to spend time with my two children who are 18 and 21. We go to the movies on Christmas day. What better way to spend the afternoon than with my two children. Yes, I am still out of the running for Mother of the Year. As my 18 year old daughter said as we left the theater, "That was like watching porn...with your mother." Yes, there's something wrong with that! My son dittoed her comment and added that he might have been more comfortable watching it with "the guys." Oh, well. It certainly made for open and interesting conversation afterward! But, as usual, I digress. Back to the film. From the opening scene to the final cut, there was more sex and drug usage than I imagined happened in Woodstock, NY back in 1969. Addictions to sex, drugs, and money were the obvious issues, but Belfort was addicted to the success and power he earned at any cost.
The film is really much more than that. It is a creatively executed story that enables the viewer to get a real feel for who this mega millionaire is. The unique story-telling perspective of having Belfort narrate the film in hindsight as the viewer watches is always an interesting way of showing a film. We get to know Belfort in both the before and after stages which makes us have empathy for this money-loving, cheating, lying thief. Belfort also breaks through that "4th wall" and talks to us, the audience. It's like he has a secret that he's letting us in on and who doesn't like to hear a secret? He's being honest with us so we like this scumbag even more.
DiCaprio is not one of my favorite actors, but I must say his last two films, including this one, have won me over. This was a very complicated, multi-layered role to take on and his performance was mind-boggling. He became this very character and I found myself rooting for the "bad guy." He was charming, charismatic, angry, volatile, abusive, and smart. He was also a lot of fun. He embodied this character completely. The remainder of the cast was outstanding with Jonah Hill playing his right hand man complete with pearly white veneered teeth. Matthew McConaughey, Jon Favreau, and Rob Reiner had relatively small roles, but deftly performed their parts. The action was always high (pun intended), the story was fast-paced even considering that it was an almost three hour movie. This man's life was depicted in such detail, but never, ever in a boring way. The music was perfect at every scene, punctuating the scene.
8 REELS (but be warned...it's not for everyone!)