The new collaboration between Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio is an incredibly undisciplined picture that offers a comedic and unnerving portrayal of human grotesquery and the almost cult like appeal of its central character and his Modus Operandi.

The movie focuses on Jordan Belfort a wall street broker who moved to New York to pursue his dreams within that industry. From there he moved to set up his own brokerage firm by conning investors, with his company eventually becoming a financial behemoth as Belfort collapses into a world of hedonistic fulfilment as he satisfies his every desire with drugs, sex and extravagance which plays in a comedic way over the movie's generous duration.

The movie is of course based on Jordan Belfort's own memoir of this period in his life. What the movie does well is to portray this macho world with a sense of vibrancy and physicality that is illustrated brilliantly by its lead actor in Leonardo DiCaprio. The 39-year-old brings a sense of physical comedy and charismatic bravado to a character who is in essence the leader of a capitalist cult. Contextually the movie also is a telling portrayal of the darker side of consumerist capitalism when followed to the nth degree. It also represents a cinematic and cultural genesis from Wall Street's Gordon Gekko to the roots of the financial malaise and destruction that has featured so prominently across the world as many have suffered.

The movie has been criticised in some circles for being an amoral tale that never truly addresses the moral quandaries at the heart of its story. I myself find this to be a superficial argument because the movie should be judged on its own terms - it is about this aggressive financial environment and the savagery and exhilaration that the protagonists enjoy as they do morally repugnant things to their clients and themselves. However herein lies the main problem that the movie has. As a comedic depiction of a period in this person's life the movie's singularity should be commended; however it never has the expansive emotional or narrative complexity of Scorsese's previous work with Leonardo DiCaprio such as Gangs of New York (2002) or The Departed (2006).

After the movie ended I was left dumbfounded and impressed by the performances of the actors and the tone of the movie that is of course reminiscent of Scorsese's Goodfellas (1990). As the movie concludes we are given an aside by the main character that perhaps points to some deeper contextual understanding of the events we have just witnessed, however because the third act of the movie is hurried through, we as an audience are never given a succinct understanding of the story that Scorsese clearly wants convey us to think about in this final frame. So much time is spent on the sex, drugs and comedy that the movie lacks an emotional punch, despite the fact it roars along at a wonderful pace. Some of the physical cutting in the movie is below the standard of the creative team behind the movie as I noticed some dialogue that wasn't synced properly in one frame and I was left astounded by this sleight of hand from such a wonderful creative team. This may be the result of the quick cutting required to chop the running time of the movie down to three hours. While it is paradoxical to criticise the movie for its portrayal of women as this is a male dominated world defined by adulterous alpha males and their grotesquery, but I was uncomfortable with the portrayal of women in the movie and this fog sat over the whole movie for me which betrays a truly touching scene involving a female colleague in the story itself. The former soap star Margot Robbie does her best with a chronically underwritten role and her performance is so good you wish she had more to do, while Joanna Lumley's cameo while amusing is also opaque.

  • Margot Robbie in The Wolf of Wall Street

The performances are superb and perhaps this is the one saving grace of the movie, Jonah Hill is captivating and Matthew McConaughey almost steals the entire picture as a broker Belfort meets at the start of the movie. The director Rob Reiner, Jean Dujardin, P.J Byrne all also shine in the movie and Scorsese's use of music is as good as it has ever been.

In short, The Wolf of Wall Street is a good movie but it is constrained by it duplicitous hedonism that it can't marry with any true emotionality or narrative complexity. It's a good movie but I expected more from two of Hollywood's masters in DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese.