Based on the autobiography by Jordan Belfort, this is a film about the rise and fall of that Wall Street broker, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
Belfort starts at the bottom in a mainstream company, as a sort of “gopher” setting up deals for others. He passes his exams to start work as a fully qualified dealer. But it’s Black Monday, and he’s out of a job.
Belfort hunts for a job and finds an opening in a shady operation selling penny stocks. In the main markets, commission rates were typically 1%. In the penny share market, the rates were 50%… Belfort takes to this world like the proverbial duck to water, and – helped by his ever developing sales skills – prospers. Before long he starts his own operation and goes from (illicit gotten) strength to strength.
On the way up, it’s a tale of sex and drugs and rock and roll. But the rock and roll is limited to the soundtrack. So, you get helping after helping after helping of sex and drugs. Frankly, it’s too much.
I’ll say no more about the plot, for fear of being more of a spoiler.
I thought DiCaprio’s performance was excellent. He lived the role, breathing believable life into the character. But beyond that, there’s not very much of substance. the supporting characters do a competent job, but are very much only support; they have virtually no material to shine with. This is Leonardo’s film.
The acid test – or rather, one acid test – about a film, is whether I would want to watch it again. In a snap, my answer is a resounding no. This is a long, long film during which Di Caprio’s standout will probably keep you captivated. But it won’t have you coming back for more.