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Wolf of Wall Street, The


Stars: Leonardo di Caprio, Margot Robbie, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jean Dujardin, Jon Favreau, Joanna Lumley, Jon Bernthal, Christine Ebersole, Shea Whigham, P J Byrne, Ethan Suplee

Director: Martin Scorsese

The rise and fall of a stockbroking shark makes sometimes blistering entertainment: but there's still a line of thought here that says that if this kind of tale can't be told in two hours, it shouldn't be told at all.

In olden times, studio chiefs would have made too many cuts in this. Today, we have gone to the other extreme, and a director like Scorsese can let a movie run pretty much as long as he wants. The result: just too much shouting, too many orgies, too many rants, too much drug-traking - and a terrific performance by di Caprio in the title role, although even here the writing gives his character too little light and shade.

After a start in Wall Street, Jordan Belfort (di Caprio) sees his firm collapse beneath him after the Black Monday of 1987. He joins a penny-ante group of brokers and is quickly their star player, soon leaving to start his own firm, Stratton Oakmont, whose staff he teaches to make the hard sell in worthless shares, pocketing the profits.

With a magazine 'exposé' only making him stronger, Jordan demonstrates that nothing succeeds like excess: a drug addict, sex addict and money addict to a spectacular degree, Jordan (and his followers) lives life high on the hog, taking a beautiful blonde wife (a striking first major Hollywood role for stunning Australian actress Margot Robbie) and scoffing at the efforts of law enforcement agencies to bring him down.

The whole movie, though, is conducted at the same mega-decibel level, which might work over 90 minutes or so, but creates a distinct wearing effect across something twice that length. Please, Mr Scorsese: greed is good, but less is also sometimes more.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by deluxe.
185 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 3, Swearing 3.

Review date: 11 Jan 2014