Precinct Seven Five

Director: Tiller Russell (2015)

This funny, violent and arresting tale about corrupt cops in New York is the Goodfellas of police documentaries.

It follows the rise and fall of disgraced former cop Michael Dowd.

He talks, dresses and looks like one the wiseguys in director Martin Scorsese’s mob masterpiece. He even looks like Tony Darrow the actor who played Sonny Bunz, the owner of the ill-fated Bamboo Lounge. The actor was later charged with extortion.

In the early 1980’s, the 75th precinct was the most dangerous in the city, suffering 1000’s of shootings and 100’s of homicides a year. It’s described as ‘the land of f***’ by the officers’ who have to patrol it.

In extensive interviews Dowd admits to extortion, drug dealing, drug use, theft and estimates he has committed thousands of crimes as an officer.

There were bundles of cash and barrels of drugs alongside the kidnappings and murders.

Dowd claims he was taught to bend the rules in the Academy before he even graduated to the streets.

It was there he was taught the code of Omerta (silence) and a sense of brotherhood  – which Dowd exploited to make breaking the law easier.

Poor levels of police pay and the daily grind contribute to corruption. As the criminals are so much more wealthy, crime is seen to pay.

A handsome and charismatic Domenican drug dealer called Diaz cheerfully provides a criminal insight. Dowd admits to providing a police escort for him.

With it’s use of freeze frames, fast cuts and rock soundtrack, there is a similar energy to Scorsese’s finest work.

Among the talking heads, court footage, crime scene reconstructions and some terrific contemporary footage, maps detail exactly where crimes were taking place, anchoring Dowd’s storytelling in reality.

Dowd never believed he would be caught, but ruefully acknowledges his attitude may have been a consequence of the copious amount of cocaine he was consuming.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Director: Martin Scorsese (2014)

Making money has never seemed so debauched as in this glossy, foul–mouthed and darkly comic biopic.

The fifth collaboration between director Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio colourfully captures the outrageous world of crooked Wall Street trader Jordan Belfort.

It’s a blisteringly charismatic turn by DiCaprio as Belfort, a rampant, ravenous and depraved monster whose ego dominates the film.

Margot Robbie plays his underdressed trophy wife Naomi, but to her credit she isn’t overwhelmed by DiCaprio’s gleeful grandstanding.

In typical Scorsese style, dynamic camera-work and a storming soundtrack thrust us through criminal, chemical and domestic abuse while dressed in trashy clothes and driving a fleet of flash cars.

It is Scorsese’s finest film since his mobster masterpiece Goodfellas (1990). It’s similarly structured and high with comedy – at times it’s hilarious.

As Belfort talks directly to camera while walking you through his life, the dialogue even features some of the same key words and phrases to underline how crooked Wall Street is.

A ruthlessly brilliant salesman – imagine Gordon Gekko on Class A drugs – Belfort’s rapid rise is powered by his ability to foster corrupt practises among his employees and his business partner Donnie (Jonah Hill).

He doesn’t bother to explain in detail to the audience how it works but points to his huge spoils to prove hat it does. There are beds full of cash, planes full of prostitutes, showers of drugs, monkeys on rollerskates and dwarf-throwing contests.

Eventually the FBI chase him for his insider trading and his career, house and marriage are at risk.

In his most exhilarating movie since Casino and his best since Goodfellas, Scorsese points out that the wolf can only exist as a result of our greedy gullibility.

It failed to win any of the Oscars it was nominated for; best film, director, male lead, male support for Hill and best adapted screenplay. As DiCaprio couldn’t win a golden statue for this titanic effort – he may as well give up trying.