Martin Scorsese films are well-known for their soundtracks of diverse music and his latest, The Wolf Of Wall Street, is certainly no exception but before we get to that let's talk a little about the movie.
Based on the real life dirty deeds of Jordan Belfort as depicted in his memoir of the same name, the titular character of The Wolf Of Wall Street is portrayed in an all-in performance by Leonardo DiCaprio. Many of the characters names had to be changed to avoid litigation and Belfort himself appears near the end of the film, introducing the on-screen version of himself in the final scene. The movie is rated a very, very hard R with several scenes voluntarily trimmed, edited or otherwise toned down to avoid the dreaded NC-17. Lots of sex, both male and female nudity, incessant drug use and profuse profanity left HERC feeling slimed. Both DiCaprio and Hill deliver stellar performances and were rightfully nominated for Oscars in their respective categories with DiCaprio losing to his Wolf costar Matthew McConaughey, who won for his role in Dallas Buyers Club and Hill losing to Jared Leto, McConaughey's co-star in Club. Despite top notch acting, writing, directing and even the gimmicky editing, HERC cannot recommend this film. Watch Inequality For All instead.
Scorsese films use music as punctuation - more often than not there is no literal connection between the lyrics and the scenes but somehow the chosen songs color and accentuate the on-screen action. Scorsese's two favorite musical touchstones through the years have been the catalog of the Rolling Stones and the music that inspired them, the Blues. He has worked with several music supervisors throughout his career and Randall Poster got the gig for Wolf. Poster had previously worked with Martin on Hugo and with both DiCaprio and Scorsese on HERC favorite, The Aviator. Neither film has a noticeable or distinguished soundtrack so his work on The Wolf Of Wall Street comes as a revelation within their limited history.
As usual, the official soundtrack release is only a taster, a sampler of the more than 40 songs heard during the film's three hours. Two things stand out more than anything else about this soundtrack for HERC:
- For a film set in the late Eighties and early Nineties, the filmmakers resisted the obvious path of filling it with crowd-pleasing hits. Unless HERC missed his count, there are actually more songs from the Seventies than the later decades.
- There are a lot of classic Blues tunes which may seem out of place at first glance but taken in the context of the scenes that they are heard, they all make sense. They are there to color the scene rather than distract the viewer.
The Spotify playlist above was curated by user TJ Clark. It contains 43 songs, and some are included twice. It is not meant to be to be the smooth listening experience some soundtracks are but rather an accurate portrait of the music included in the film. What did you think of this movie and its soundtrack? Let HERC know in the comments below.