Be careful which films you go to see with your mates

So last night I went to the mighty Showcase Cinema with a good friend to take in a movie. To provide him with some anonymity lets call him Neil Belt. Now Mr Belt and I have been to see plenty of films over the years but this time it was a little different. I really wanted to watch Scorsese’s The Wolf on Wall Street but had reservations. I had heard it was a bit blue and had plenty of scenes of disrepute. Did I want to sit next to a close friend and watch this debauchery, a man who like me was a pillar of the community (ok well more him than me) and a father of a child who probably still needs help brushing their teeth,(no, is that just my 9 year old!!!).

However Mr Belt said he was fine with the film choice so off we set. We settled down in the cinema watching the endless adverts and I’m feeling a little bit uncomfortable. “What if he thinks I’m a bit of perv wanting to watch this?” “What if he goes home and tells Mrs Belt, “don’t let that family anywhere near our family again, you should see the kind of things he likes to watch”. Then a glimmer of hope emerged. Mr Belt realises that Chelsea are playing tonight instead of tomorrow. “Oh well we can go if you want?” I ask hopefully. “Nah we’re here now” replied a slightly grumpy Mr Belt.

The lights went down, the 4 hours of adverts and prolonged trailers disappeared and the film started. One of the first thing you see in the film is Leo DiCaprio snorting cocaine of a prostitutes buttocks. Within the first 30 minutes there are 2 orgy scenes, a bit of domestic violence and enough drugs consumed to make even Keith Richards claim “that’s a bit excessive boys”.

There’s 3 hours of this I thought as I sank further into my chair. However Mr Belt appears to be enjoying it as do the other patrons of the cinema and I begin to loosen up a bit and start to relax a bit. Like I said as a big film fan, especially Mr Scorsese I knew I would enjoy the film but was unsettled about watching something so graphic with a fellow school run member. Once I knew Mr Belt was enjoying it I started to think maybe I’d worried about nothing.

So what of the film, is it any good. Well yes and no. Mr Dicaprio is fantastic as Jordan Belfort, the man who wanted it all regardless of who he stepped on to get there, letting loose as if appearing in his last ever film, making the whining artist from Titanic a long and distant memory. He is ably supported by Jonah Hill, who sports ridiculous hair and even more ridiculous teeth, Rob Reiner also gives a thoroughly charming performance as Jordan’s beleagured father, and Matthew McConaughey steals the entire film with 3 minutes of hilarity about cocaine snorting and the importance of masturbation in the workplace. As with everything Scorsese shoots the film looks glorious and is edited to within an inch of its life. When compared with Goodfellas (the film that this one so desperately wants to be but falls short), the Scorsese trademark violence is toned down, however there is sex and a lot of it although the editing is so sharp the actors modesty is generally preserved. The language is profane with every other word being the F word or even stronger. This sort of thing doesn’t bother me but I’d stay clear of renting the DVD for your old mum and dad.

The problem is its too long. We get from the first hour that Jordan is obsessed with money, drugs and sex, we understand that so to keep going over it in more extreme ways seems to suggest Scorsese is attempting to shock. There is a ridiculous drug fueled fight involving a telephone and a coffee table that doesn’t need to be there, there is a minor subplot involving a house butler who steals some of Jordan’s money after arranging a gay orgy. The scene goes nowhere and isn’t resolved other than the aforementioned butler receiving a bloody nose from some of Jordan’s pathetic henchmen.

Then there is Belfort himself, a completely 100% unlikeable character. He has no redeeming features and borrows a lot of audience goodwill to keep you rooting for him for 3 hours, the cop-out ending as well is quite unsatisfying. Overall its an impressive film, possibly the funniest and most fun of Scorsese’s in the last decade or so. It illustrates the excesses of the time and the damage it did to people, however you won’t come away thinking of Belfort as a reformed character or a hero, but maybe you are not meant too.

As with most 3 hour plus films you think things are going to end but it continues, and then it continues some more and you start to focus on controlling your own bladder than what is unfolding on the screen in front of you.

So what about Mr Belt and myself? Well we walked back to the car barely speaking, I still felt awkward. Chelsea had drawn at West Brom as well so I sensed it was going to be an uncomfortable journey home. We both claimed we enjoyed the film but made it quite clear that we thought it rather excessive at times and it was perhaps not a great idea to talk about its content with Mrs Rambling Dad and Mrs Belt.

So in the end a pleasant night was had by both, but what if Mr Belt had been appalled by the show? Is such risky film choices worth putting a friendship on edge? Should we have just gone to watch Sherman and Mr Peabody and led the easy life? No forget that last comment, I’m pretty sure no one should go and watch that film.