First Hit: Although 3 hours long, it was entertaining and intense.
I happened to watch “Goodfellas” the morning before I saw Wolf. The similarities are that Martin Scorsese used a group of wild characters and shows them acting the same way when confronted with diverse situations. Drugs and illegal actions are also key elements in both films.
From a visual perspective, both films use family situations, groups, couples and single moments to build the story visually. What I didn’t like about Wolf was the illegal actions of the characters actions. Yes in "Goodfellas" they did illegal things, and they were expected to. The focus on selling unsuspecting people on making a quick buck (their own greed) because you are good at selling people, just didn’t sit well with me.
The film uses a number of voice overs which I don't normally like but it did add to the story as time got a bit mixed up. Because it is based on a true story, the pervasive use of drugs and alcohol as fuel to their lifestyle and trading was disconcerting.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort who just wanted to be rich, real rich. He discovers that drugs, womanizing, and money mix well delivering what he wanted. I’m not sure whether the film reflected the shallowness of the person and people in his firm or if the film was just shallow. Regardless, the scene of him on his boat speaking with the FBI was excellent while the scene of him discussing how to throw midgets at targets in the office, wasn’t.
DiCaprio was strong and made the script work and believable. Jonah Hill as Belfort’s sidekick was, at times over the top and not interesting, while at other times good. Matthew McConaughey in a small role as Mark Hanna was very good. Rob Reiner as Jordan’s dad Max was very good and I enjoyed his presence in the film. Margot Robbie (playing Naomi Lapaglia) as Belfort’s second wife was very good. Not only very attractive to look at, she created a sense of reality in the film. Terence Winter wrote an extensive script from Belfort’s book. Scorsese was able to reign in Belfort’s lifestyle and present it on film.
Overall: This is a very good film, maybe in the same category as Goodfellas, but is it great and inventive like Goodfellas was of its time? I don't think so.