Catching the Wolf

A story of debauchery

I went to see the Wolf of Wall Street today. Have you seen it? The debauched story of Jordan Belfort, a man whose rise to power on Wall Street was both spectacular and flawed. The film is 3 hours long and I have to say it is the fastest 3 hours I’ve spent in a cinema. The story flew along, with humour, surprise, X rated antics and at times jaw dropping lunacy. A first class cast, amazing script, but the thing holding it together, and, in almost every scene, was Leonardo di Caprio. Surely this year he will get his first Oscar. The portrayal of Belfort is riveting from start to finish. The tale is told as a fable of how money corrupts, maybe it does, but bloody hell it seems you can have a hell of a lot of fun on it. As Belfort quotes in one of his speeches: “I’ve been a rich man and I’ve been a poor man. I prefer being a rich man.”

Drugs, alcohol and hookers

There are two threads going on here, on the first the story of Jordan Belfort and his antics and on the other the acting skill of Di Caprio. First Belfort; a man who seems to be insane with the sexual appetites of a Roman emperor, a morality which seems not to exist and more money than anyone could feasibly spend. It is a heady tale which begs the question, what would I be like with access to so much money and so little holding back my behaviour? The parties were fuelled by drugs, alcohol and hookers along with people who encouraged each other to greater and greater excesses. The film reminded me of “Catch Me If You Can meets Scarface.” I know I’m going to have to see it again to confirm the things I saw and remind me of the things I’ve forgotten.

The greatest living actor?

Meanwhile Leonardo di Caprio must now be cinema’s greatest living actor. He doesn’t always hit the jackpot (I hated Inception), but I loved him in ‘Titanic’ – I saw that at the cinema 3 times – in ‘Gangs of New York’, ‘Revolutionary Road’ and ‘Django Unchained’. I thought him fantastic in ‘Catch Me If You Can’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’, but the film that last made me feel as ‘The Wolf’ did today was ‘The Departed’. With a cast which included Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg and Ray Winstone it was always going to be an amazing film. However, it blew me away mentally, just as the ‘Wolf’ did. Di Caprio;’s performance in both films was astonishing and does rather beg the question could I be that good in my profession. Is that my level of dedication?

What will you find stirred?

Jordan Belfort led a life that few of us could comprehend. Leonardo di Caprio pushes our level of belief and drags us into the story so that even a morally bereft crook fascinates from start to finish. If movies are about escapism then I escaped for 3 hours today and it felt like 10 minutes; I am going to see it again and who knows, maybe again after that. I’m left this evening with a compulsion to write and to beg one final question. If I was to live my life to excess and to total commitment how good could it really be? Di Caprio and Belfort have inspired me today, I urge you to go and watch it and see what it stirs in you.

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