Howling to infamy – The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street - Official Poster - from

The Wolf of Wall Street – Official Poster – from

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: Terence Winter (Screenplay), Jordan Belfort (book)
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie

Oh Leo, my love, why can’t you pick films like this all the time?

Warning: this film is fantastic but if you are sensitive to nudity, drug use, or swearing, you probably won’t want to go see it. There is a lot of all of that stuff, and it is not shy about it.

The Wolf of Wall Street is one of those rare gems where a mix of things that could make a film bad makes it brilliant. It is too long, there is too much sex and swearing and drug abuse, the main characters aren’t all that likeable when you really think about it, and yet it is still a great film.

Set in the 80s and 90s, it follows the “based on a true story” tale of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a broker who whilst the rest of Wall Street crashed, was hooking people onto the idea of investing in companies that wouldn’t make a profit. Charming, driven, and intelligent, this man is the kind of man that will do anything to make as much money as possible, and isn’t afraid of crossing those moral lines that guide most of us. DiCaprio brings that air of sophisticated charm to a role that in another’s hand could have made this film a flop. He is both a despicable human being and a criminal, as well as being inspiring and wonderful to those who work for him. DiCaprio makes greed look both good and undesirable at the same time. This film creates so many conflicts and juxtapositions that it is hard to know whether you want Belfort to succeed or be taken down by the FBI.

(I could rant about how great Leonardo DiCaprio is in this film until the end of time. Seriously, it’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape good. He should do more physical humour. He is fantastic at it. His timing is impeccable. Oh and that scene in the country club foyer… ok, ranting now controlled…)

With a stellar cast including Jonah Hill, Kyle Chandler, and Margot Robbie, Scorsese has out done himself. Martin Scorsese has never been afraid of pushing boundaries and he does so in almost every scene in this film. It is obscene and opulent and yet I still love it.

I recommend this film to those of you who won’t mind the R+18 rating because you’ll probably love it for all the right reasons. I recommend this film to all those who do mind the R+18 rating because it is one of those films in a million that will make you appreciate your sensibility and your morality all that more.


Imagination Reborn – Hugo

Hugo - Official Poster - from

Hugo – Official Poster – from

Hugo (2011)

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: John Logan (screenplay), Brian Selznick (book)
Stars: Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz and Christopher Lee

I had heard very mixed reports of Hugo before I went to see it. It was a Martin Scorsese film, which meant it was going to look stunning, and it didn’t fail to do that. But the way it was advertised was as an adventure film. Now in our modern era, when we think adventure we think action-film-adventure, not little-children’s-imagination-adventure, and that is where I think they went wrong with their advertising. Hugo is so much more than an action film, in fact it’s not that at all. It’s a story of discovery, of family, and of childhood. Brian Selznick’s storybook is a beautifully crafted story and it is about a boy who lives without a family, discovers a new kind of family, and helps an old man to realise his importance in the world. Selznick’s gorgeous story and Scorsese’s cinematic brilliance really give this film a delightful childish wonder. I really wish that more people had seen this film because there is something truly wonderful about escaping into France with this little boy and seeing the world through his eyes.

There is a simple truth to the idea that children nowadays have lost their imagination and that it has been replaced by technologies, video games, and television. Imaginary worlds have been created for them and they no longer know how to play and imagine for themselves. But I know that this isn’t all true in that children still know how to create, play, and explore, maybe they just need more encouragement to do so and more time given in the day to do so. Hugo Cabret is a boy who inspires me to play more, to explore the world and all it’s twists and turns, and to meet old men and women who have a billion stories to tell and who can inspire a new way of seeing the world.