Wolf of Wall Street: 5 reasons you'll hate it. And 5 reasons you'll love it.

The Wolf of Wall Street is based on a true story. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who gets wildly successful in the ’80s via crime, sin, and corruption.

It’s the latest, three and a half hour long Martin Scorsese film, and it’s seriously polarising. Critics and movie-goers around the world have called it brilliant, perverted, captivating, disgusting, masterful, awful, sexist, homophobic, clever… and also extremely long.

It’s savagely divided the Mamamia office, so we asked writers Avi Vince and Kate Leaver to get involved in a battle of the reviews.

Check out the trailer for a taste of its crazy decadence:

Avi Vince: Why we loved it.

1. It’s based on a true story.

I am a complete sucker for anything that is remotely based on truth. I feel like I am watching something original. I spent the entire movie thinking “Is this for f*cking real?” (Right from the first scene.) And then realised, it WAS real. Some of the ridiculousness that this guy lived is incredibly unbelievable. So unbelievable that it is fascinating to watch. And your mouth might be open in shock. And you might be slightly offended. Or a lot offended.

2. Margot Robbie’s in it.

And Margot Robbie is “amazingness” in a person. And her character is a no-BS character. So nice to see a strong woman even though she is with an idiot. I also love her accent – she totally aced it.

3. There is this one scene…

Don’t worry I won’t give it away…when Leo and Jonah do way too many drugs (this happens a lot) and are fighting over the phone. It is so funny, I may have cried a little. And peed a little too. There is also this scene when Leo thinks one thing happened but once he comes out of his drugged up state, realises a completely different thing happened. Peed here too.

4. Even though it is about the stock market, I understood this movie.

With most financey movies I usually just watch everything that goes on around the money stuff. And then ask my husband what the finance stuff meant and why was everyone so upset. But the way they did this movie, it was done in the right way that didn’t assume you had extensive knowledge of the stock market. (P.S. I have knowledge in other things.)

5. Jordan Belfort is a good guy.

Even though Leo’s character is super shady and does a million things that you won’t like him for, at the end of the day he is extremely loyal and really just wants everyone around him to make lots of money to be happy and successful. What the movie doesn’t go into is what happens after the movie ends. While serving prison time Jordan Belfort cleans up his act. He no longer takes drugs or drinks alcohol. He has taught the regulators of the stock exchange how to catch criminals like him by revealing all of his secrets. Each year he trains the new-recruit auditors on how to catch criminals like him. And he is a motivational speaker and helps sales employees be the best at their job. So he turned out to be a nice guy.



Kate Leaver: Why we hated it.

1. It’s all tits and cocaine. No substance. 

There are so many prostitutes, drugs, cars, crimes, penises, boobs, and snorting white powder from vulvas, that you actually might not notice the structural weakness of the film. It relies completely on visual excess and kink that they forgot about things like profound character development, depth, insight, and a captivating plot. It was a marathon of hedonism without a moral, or a real story, attached to it. The end result is an aggressively meaningless tribute to abrasive masculinity. Ick.

2. It’s at least an hour too long.

If Martin Scorsese filmed Leonardo DiCaprio reading the entire phone book in a Brooklyn gangster voice, it’d be a smash hit. Their combined star power and Hollywood credibility means they can essentially do whatever they hell they want, spending millions and making billions. The problem is, they know that. That’s why Wolf is a self-indulgent, way-too-long film that stretched the limits of the human attention span. It should have been roughly an hour shorter. Even Hollywood royalty need to get in that editing suite after they’ve wrapped filming and be ruthless with superfluous footage.

It’s 180 minutes of my life I will never get back.

3. It might be a true story, but this is not reality.

A lot of Marty Scorsese’s work is celebrated because it “holds a mirror up to humanity”.  That’s what we say every time a movie gets too confronting; that it’s a valid piece of art because it reflects the darkest bits of our own psyche/society/species/existence. But this film was just abrasive and revolting without that excuse, or anything vaguely noble. It’s just a vile insight into a tiny niche of horrible human beings. It reflects on a teeny-tiny group of people – stockbrokers in the ’80s with tailored suits and no morals – and I can’t see any moral or social advantage in regurgitating their lives like this.

Marty shows us all the excess, corruption, crime, abuse, and hedonism… without any of the consequences. What’s the point?

4. Leo DiCaprio’s performance is sub-par 

Leonardo’s one of the most talented actors in the biz. Obviously. He’s been superb since Romeo and Juliet and should’ve won an Oscar for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. But as Jordan Belfort, every long, protracted monologue or coked-out action sequence really has an undertone of “Give me an Oscar! Give me an Oscar!”. It made his performance feel forced, self-conscious, harsh and disingenuous. It’s not going to make me popular for saying it, but this is the worst performance of Leo’s career.

5. It’s just really unpleasant. 

At the end of this movie I was exhausted from all the hating. It was a festival of revolting, shameless, decadent masculinity and I had a visceral reaction to it. I love films that challenge our emotions or expectations and rally make us think. But this just totally missed the mark for me. Sorry, Marty.

Have you seen Wolf of Wall Street? Did you hate it or love it?