Just in time for Christmas, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio reteam for The Wolf of Wall Street, a film as heartwarming as The Aviator and Shutter Island, which is to say not at all.
In the late '80s, Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) scammed Wall Street's biggest investors, raking in $49 million in a single year. His secret weapon? Penny stocks that brought in a hefty 50 percent commission as opposed to the normal 1 percent on shares of major ones like IBM. At three hours, Wolf is packed with more sex, drugs, and general debauchery than all of Scorsese's previous films—strangely, there's very little gunfire.) Is this another sure thing come awards season or merely a guilty pleasure as some critics have cited?
The film also stars Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Kyle Chandler, Jean Dujardin and briefly, Matthew McConaughey. Read on for what makes this flick one of Leo's best roles ever:
1. The Role DiCaprio Was Born to Play: Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby seemed like the ultimate Leo role: charming, quick-witted, and soulful. Still, he didn't get to bust out pop-locking freestyle moves like he does here. Whether he's a motivational speaker for his legion of followers or just on way too many drugs, the actor has never oozed with an arsenal of so much funny.
2. Better Than Casino, Not Quite Goodfellas: A guy who starts with nothing and works his way up to a staggering amount of success via criminal activity isn't new, especially for Scorsese. But, here the filmmaker—along with longtime collaborator editor, Thelma Schoonmaker—supplies the real-life tale of Belfort with so much manic energy and excitement that's you'll never be bored.
3. More Than Just a Pretty Face: Margot Robbie leaves a huge impression as Belfort's second wife, Naomi. At first, she's the just the required eye candy for a guy like Belfort, but Robbie supplies much resonance in the last act as a woman whose desperation is only overshadowed by her out-of-control husband.
4. Plenty of Excess: As Belfort's second in command, Donnie (Jonah Hill) wants the party to go on and on. And with plenty of boozing and full frontal, no one can say Wolf doesn't earn the hard R rating. Now the only question is: What could possibly be left for unrated Blu-ray home version?
5. Pay for the Comfy Seats: Speaking of home video, the film will no doubt age better on repeat viewings where the long-run time won't be as much of a factor. That Leo's performance never wears out its welcome—even when the script becomes a tad predictable in the last 40 minutes—is a credit to an actor who has yet to win an Oscar.