I bailed after 20 minutes. If I weren't a stubborn bastard who writes reviews of everything, I'd have quit after ten.
It's about financial brokers. This isn't in itself a bad thing, but the problem with giving two hours of your life to this movie is that the brokers themselves are worthless people. Everyone. Every last rat bastard of them. They're scum and not even in an interesting way. Money is what they breathe, eat, shit and then ingest again. They think of nothing else and indeed appear to be trying to eliminate all other brain functions. Imagine every caricature of a psychopath in a suit, as per Matt Taibi's Rolling Stone description of "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." If anything, that's being kind to them.
This is too one-dimensional and cartoonish to be true, which means of course that it's a near-documentary. The movie's based in part on the real life experiences of one Jordan Belfort. You can also tell what's going to happen, both from a movie-watcher's point of view and from the common-sense angle of "it's impossible for these people's activities not to be criminal". I predicted the plot, confirmed my guess by looking up the film on wikipedia and then stopped watching, thus saving myself a lot of time spent with people of no interest whatsoever.
There's sociological value in watching them, I suppose. You can see how and why the banking collapse happened. However it's nothing we didn't know anyway... and in any case, they're REALLY DULL PEOPLE. It's like watching monkeys eat their own shit. Is this supposed to be entertaining for more than thirty seconds? We already know not to do that. We're human. We can see the obvious. We don't need to watch a two-hour movie about idiots to hammer it home.
Um, that's it, I think.
Well, there's the cast, I suppose. Giovanni Ribisi's playing the lead role and I've always been a fan of his. He can do either slimy or nice and make them almost both sides of the same coin, without compromising in the slightest on either. There's also Vin Diesel, apparently even acting. I have nothing in particular against Vin Diesel, not even his movies because I don't watch them. (I've seen Pitch Black
. Can't think of any others offhand.)
However in the interests of balance, this film was nominated for Best Foreign Film - English Language by the British Independent Film Awards. Also when I first posted this review, two people replied to say they loved the film. I can even understand that, given that the film clearly has integrity and isn't pulling any punches in its portrayal of real-life monsters.
Anyway, if you hate psychopathic financial brokers and want the smug glow of affirming your hatred, this movie is for you. Alternatively, if you've been living under a rock and think the world's been too hard on these valuable servants of society, who can't be as bad as they're painted... well, I don't know what to say to you. Get out more. Otherwise I personally regard this film as having nothing more. Move on. Next.