Friday, January 3, 2014

Movie Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio team up once again for The Wolf of Wall Street. After this, their fifth paring, I'm starting to believe they really are "...duly appointed federal marshals." All jokes aside, you know Leo brings his A game whenever he's in a Scorsese picture and his performance in The Wolf of Wall Street is no different. Well actually, it is a bit different. Leo is renowned for his onscreen intensity (re: screaming a lot) but his turn as cocaine fueled stock broker Jordan Belfort takes DiCaprio to a new realm of insanity and goes straight to 11.

The Wolf of Wall Street is a wild and hilarious black comedy about the stock market robber barons of the 1980's. The film chronicles the drug fueled shenanigans of Jordan Belfort and his cadre of greed merchants who con hapless suckers from their hard earned cash, selling worthless stocks and making a killing in the process. For the con-artists turned stock brokers of the Stratton Oakmont firm, exploitation is their business and business is good. The shit these dudes get away with is ridiculous. The drugs, the sex, the debauchery, the numerous felonies, it would be obscene and downright unbelievable if this wasn't all based on real life events. By the end of this three hour film two things will be made painfully obvious. Wealth does not trickle down ( in fact it's snorted from the bottom) and truth is stranger than fiction.


The Wolf of Wall Street is anchored by Leo's strong willed performance. His character Jordan is like a human wrecking ball. He's at the forefront of everything and it's his frantic vision/greed quest that keeps the film's breakneck pace in motion. Jordan starts off as a naive young broker on Wall Street who transforms himself from an idealistic boyscout to a corrupt multimillionaire and Quaalude enthusiast within a few short years. The film follows Jordan's rise from poverty to "Bond villain" luxury, and indulges the dark capitalist power trip fantasy that exists within our collective consciousnesses. As entertaining as the film is, with it's wild parties, (excellent) nudity and record breaking profanity, it's far too long and repetitive. I know, the film is over indulgent and excessive because it mirrors these assholes lives but seriously, it could have been trimmed down twenty or thirty minutes easily. Also, most of the characters, including Leo as Jordan, are sort of wishy washy. One second they're scummy caricatures, the next they're trying, (trying being the key) to be real people. The only legit performance in the whole film belong to Jonah Hill, who plays Jordan's right hand man and steals every scene he's in.

The fact that Martin Scorsese is still turning out films like The Wolf of Wall Street at age 71 is amazing. Considering that most of his cohorts from the 1970's have languished in mediocrity during their senior years, it only makes Scorsese's talent and passion for film making that much more admirable. Scorsese is the real star of this film. It's his presence behind the camera that makes this 3 hour trip into asshole land not only worth while, but funny as hell. Is this as great a film as Goodfellas? No. But you have to remember, the murderous gangsters in that movie where characters with heart that you come to love, The Wolf of Wall of Street is about...bankers. Considering the source material, I'd say Scorsese did an amazing job.

2 comments:

  1. I hear it's quite good, it's done quite well with critics

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  2. I'm interested now. Honestly I'd forgotten this one existed for a while, but I think it'd be a fun watch after this. 3 hours though. Mmm..

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