Leonardo di Caprio takes centre stage as Jordan Belmont, one of the most loathsome people you could ever meet.
Forget the debate about whether the film neglects its responsibility to the victims of Belmont’s business practices – this film isn’t about that, and so it doesn’t even come into question.
This is a character study of excess, greed and hedonism, with di Caprio dialling it all the way up to eleven, spitting out bits of scenery as he goes.
At one point, di Caprio’s character, explaining his staff motivation tactics, yells something along the lines of “They have to want to live like I do” – and herein lies the major problem. I don’t want to live like he does. OK, the house, the yacht, the limousine – the ‘things’ – would be fun, but the lifestyle he chooses to accompany all of that is just not appealing.
Belmont has no redeeming features – if you could like him even a little bit it would make this film so much better. And actually, I was prepared to go with him until the point where he directly addresses the audience and dismisses our intelligence with “you wouldn’t understand”. At that point I lost any interest in him.
However, Matthew McConnaughey wins again – all plot exposition should be done like this. After three hours of Leo, it’s McConnaughey’s short appearance that is the lasting memory.