Title: “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: Terence Winter
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
If there’s a movie that is angering, infuriating, frustrating, and yet oddly inspiring, it’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Based on the book of the same name by Jordan Belfort, this is his story. We follow him from his early days before he got his broker’s license, through the crash of 1987, the founding of Stratton Oakmont and the various illegal activities, drugs, and philandering, and ends around the time he is sent to jail and later becomes a motivational speaker.
Since this is a Scorsese film, you already know it’s going to be good, but he does switch things up so that his movies are different from each other. “The Wolf of Wall Street” conveys a sense of fun, not to mention incredible excess right down to it’s three hour runtime. We would almost expect a scene similar to the giant mountains of cocaine in “Scarface.” Everything in this movie is over the top. Excessive drugs, excessive sex, money being flung everywhere. There is no restraint shown anywhere in this movie.
The performances are excellent, as one would again expect in a Scorsese movie. DiCaprio is great as Belfort and turns in one of the best performances of his career. Jonah Hill is excellent as well, although it’s sometime difficult to figure out what his deal really is, and sometimes his teeth get distracting even if they are part of his character (something that Belfort notes in-movie). One of the great additions was Rob Reiner as “Mad Max” Belfort, Jordan’s father, called so because of his hair-trigger temper. Matthew McConaughey even has a brief role in the beginning, and he uses that role to impressive ends.
While the film tells a great and stylish story, it can seem very long. Like I said, the long runtime was probably part of the point, but by the end you might feel as though you’ve run a marathon. While there’s a runner’s euphoria afterwards and a feeling of accomplishment, I question whether we should need to feel that to get the most out of a movie.
A tale of excess and corruption, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is a great look into a real-life character and criminal of our time, as well as a look at our time itself. With great performances and Scorsese’s impeccable style, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is worth watching if you have the time and endurance to make it through.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” earns 4 out of 5 stars.
Is this movie doing anything new? At this point, “white Wall Street conmen experience meteoric rise and disgraceful plummet, as accompanied by prostitutes and drugs; cause us to question our own social values” isn’t new ground to tread. In a year where we had some pretty cool and unusual things happening in mainstream cinema (an animated “princess” movie where the most important relationship was between two sisters, a space thriller whose face was a middle-aged woman, a high-grossing action movie starring a young woman, a sci-fi blockbuster where 2/3 leads were NOT white men, a female buddy-cop movie), this just seems….tired. And honestly, nothing in this movie asks any questions that haven’t been asked a million times, in similar explorations. Lets celebrate Progress not Excess.
I am surrounded by 20 something year old man children who wroship this movie.