The Wolf of Wall Street: Review

Scorsese’s latest biopic, The Wolf of Wall Street, is an intimidating, three-hour long beast which grips you in its jaws, drags you into a pitch-black cave and refuses to let go until it’s much too late.

The film features a confident, awards-hungry performance from Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, a man with an insatiable appetite for sex, drugs and money (or “fun coupons”, as he calls them). Starring alongside DiCaprio is Jonah Hill, who continues to impress with his capability in more dramatic roles. He is entirely worthy of his second Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Belfort’s right-hand-man, Donnie Azoff.

Surprisingly, for a film that’s a whole three hours in length, there is no slow build-up. We’re thrust headfirst into Belfort’s life, as he goes about making and then blowing his millions in various questionable ways. The manic environment at Stratton Oakmont, Belfort’s infamous penny-stock brokerage, often resembles the inside of a cramped monkey cage; complete with the alpha-male and his gang of screaming, chest-thumping primates. This hyper-masculine and money-drenched environment often leads to some of the film’s funnier scenes, with the gang participating in increasingly bizarre and quite ridiculous displays of excess, such as dwarf tossing and raunchy office parties.

Many will no doubt argue that the film glorifies the debauched lifestyle of Jordan Belfort. Were it not for the final thirty minutes, it’d be hard to disagree. The vast majority of the film is two hours and thirty minutes of pure escapism, as Scorsese invites us all to live vicariously through Belfort and his cohorts. However, the final thirty minutes are like an icy wave that crashes through the silver-screen and washes the audience up on the bleak shores of reality. You suddenly realise you’ve been laughing the entire time; willingly going along for a ride, led by a manipulative, selfish man who fucks hookers, extorts people, takes drugs and has absolutely no regard for his wife and kids.

The Wolf of Wall Street is no celebration of masculinity. In fact, Scorsese’s latest film is an exquisitely dark fable, teaching us all what a pathetic example of a man Jordan Belfort really is.

In three words:  Depraved, Hilarious, Fascinating

Wider Reading


Why? Jonah Hill’s star persona. Roles as overweight, awkward teenagers, such as his performance in Superbad, shot Hill into the limelight. Rather than allowing himself to become typecast, he has instead been able to completely transform into an Academy Award nominated dramatic actor.

Taxi Driver

Why? Representation of masculinity. Both films have the same director and are set within the same city. However, Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle is poor, frustrated and unsuccessful with women – the complete opposite of Jordan Belfort.

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Electric Torture – 2014 & beyond

It’s been a while since we last posted, but let’s forget about all that. To put it quite simply, we got a little bit bored with how we were doing things. Not because we don’t love films. We absolutely LOVE films. It just became pretty clear to us that we were reviewing them in exactly the same way as everybody else – and we don’t want Electric Torture to be like every other film site. What’s the point in doing something if you’re not doing it your own way?

Anyway, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how we mean to go on. We still want to write about films new & old, but we’ll be avoiding tagging an arbitrary star rating to the end of our reviews. It’s completely counter-productive to give films a mark out of 5 or 10. Film is an art-form and any opinion on it is entirely subjective. Who are we to say that all 3-star films are exactly equal and worthy of such a mark? So, at the end of each review, rather than a star-rating, we’ll conclude with three words that we think best sum up the film. These three words will be green, amber or red to show whether the reviewer enjoyed the film, thought it was just alright, or didn’t particularly like it. This colour-coded system is purely to highlight the subjective opinion of the reviewer. We understand that some readers come to film reviews and skip to the end just to see a rating. Our system will hopefully cater to everyone, showing the opinion of the reviewer without the need for a numbered rating system.

Also, since we’re a film site run by film students, we want to make our content more student-orientated – so we’ll end our reviews with a couple of suggestions of other films which you could consider as wider reading. For example, these could be films that we think have similar themes, or possibly contain the same actor displaying some variety to their star persona.  Simply put, we’ll choose films that we feel are comparable in some way.

Finally, 2014 is a special, special year for film – marking the 20th anniversary of modern classics Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump & The Shawshank Redemption. We’ll be bringing you a variety of features throughout the year to celebrate the enormous and enduring impact that these films have had on so many people. We’ll also be trying out a ton of other film related features as we attempt to make this website into something we can be truly proud of.

If you like the sound of all this, please feel free to follow this blog and let your fellow film-fan friends know about us. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @TortureElectric to keep updated on all our latest posts.

Thanks for reading.