News

REVIEW: ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ one helluva ride

REVIEW: ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ one helluva ride

THE WOLF: Cast members Leonardo DiCaprio (R) and Jonah Hill arrive for the premiere of the film "The Wolf of Wall Street" in New York in this file photo from Dec. 17. Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

By George Wolf

So, how rich do you want to be?

In the opening minutes of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” 26-year-old Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) tells us making 49 million dollars in a year only pissed him off, because he really had his heart set on a million a week.

How did he ever pay the phone bill?

Belfort, the real life stock market wizard who hit it big in the 1990s and wrote the memoir the film is based on, was more concerned with paying for drugs, hookers, yachts and lavish parties, as well as staying one step ahead of the Feds who were looking to bring him down.

No doubt, the man has an incredible story to tell, and director Martin Scorsese tells it perfectly, uncorking a terrifically frenzied, wickedly funny three hour showcase of unchecked hedonism.

This is no hand-wringing reflection on the wages of sin, just a swaggering, appropriately superficial and completely entertaining lesson in the American dream.

DiCaprio is nothing short of electric, giving perhaps the most can’t-take-your-eyes-off-him performance of his career. He takes Belfort from a wide-eyed Wall Street rookie (under the unhinged tutelage of Matthew McConaughey in priceless cameo) to a drug-addled zillionaire with the perfect blend of vanity and paranoia, always leaving you anxious for his next move.

As Belfort’s partner-in-crime Donnie Azoff, Jonah Hill again delivers a terrific supporting turn, and one particular scene with he and DiCaprio wrestling over a telephone, both characters locked in a quaalude stupor, is alone worth the price of admission.

Scorsese and screenwriter Terence Winter strike just the right tone with the story of Belfort’s rise and fall. They invite comparisons to both Gordon Gekko’s “greed is good” speech and Scorsese’s own “Goodfellas,” then remind you this is another era entirely as DiCaprio breaks the fourth wall, speaking asides directly to the audience as if we were accomplices. Which, of course, we are.

The ridiculous degree to which America worships the uber-rich deserves the riotous, foot on the gas, keep up or get out approach Scorsese employs. Belfort and his ilk knew only one credo: bigger, louder, faster, more. That’s exactly what “The Wolf of Wall Street” delivers.

Sit down, shut up, and get ready for a helluva ride.

Verdict: 4/5 Stars

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Vegas police probe complaint against Blake Griffin

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin put the ball to his face as he reacts to being called for a foul against the Sacramento Kings during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Saturday, April 12, 2014. The Clippers won 117-101.

Police are investigating a man's allegation that Clippers star Blake Griffin attacked him in a Las Vegas nightclub during the weekend.

in Sports

NBA owners vote down lottery reform

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media during a news conference in New York, Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Silver announced that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life by the league in response to racist comments the league says he made in a recorded conversation.

NBA owners have voted down proposed changes to the league's draft lottery system, staving off efforts to curb tanking for the time being.

in Sports

Nine UNC employees fired or disciplined in scandal

University of North Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt, left, and President Tom Ross prepare to address members of the media with results of an investigation into academic irregularities following a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.

The probe found that nearly half of the more than 3,100 students enrolled in classes they didn't have to show up for, were athletes.

in Local Sports

Four Whatcom County prep football teams in AP state poll

Prep footballs

The Lynden Lions fell in the polls follow a tough loss to Ferndale. Find out where the Lions and the other local teams check in.

in Local Sports

Baldwin optimistic about Seahawks moving forward

seattle seahawks doug baldwin at mini camp following a fight

Baldwin said Wednesday that despite the commotion and the loss to St. Louis, the mood around the locker room is good heading into Sunday's game at Carolina