Quick! Go find a terrible Martin Scorsese movie! I’ll wait… That’s what I thought. Martin just keeps kicking out the gems, and “The Wolf of Wall Street” is no exception. Scorsese’s latest may be his best work in years. It’s a film so drenched in decadence, so filled with glamour, and at the same time so seedy and slimy, it can only be about stock brokers.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” tells the true story of Jordan Belfort, a young and ambitious stock broker who ends up finding a few shortcuts and loopholes that allow him and his friends to make big bucks selling crap stocks. Swimming in cash and wallowing in their own crapulence, these scummy salesmen are on top of the world. Unfortunately, the FBI is watching and waiting for them to slip up and bring the whole party crashing down on top of them.
“Get the ludes! GET THE LUDES!”
I don’t even know where to start; this movie is an absolute goldmine. It’s got everything you could want from a Scorsese flick. Drugs, violence, excessive cursing, infidelity, federal indictments, and let’s not forget Leo DiCaprio, the king of post-2000 Scorsese cinema. That said, this is probably the most un-Scorsese Scorsese film I’ve ever seen (“Hugo” notwithstanding). Somehow, it just doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of his catalog. It may be the near-constant laugh-out-loud humour, or it may be the fact that Jonah Hill is in it; I’m not sure. Regardless, the movie is a spectacle of decadence and greed and is as over the top and dramatic as the larger-than-life characters it portrays.
Every single actor in the film is at the top of their game. For my money, I don’t know if I’ve seen a better performance from Leo. It’s just the perfect mix of comedic timing and narcissistic rage. From the times when he’s throwing lobsters at feds, to the time he gut punches a woman, you just love to hate him, and occasionally hate to love him. He’s likely to be passed over by the Academy, but what else is new? Jonah “Moneyball” Hill steals every scene he’s in, and delivers not only great laughs, but some really poignant dramatic moments. Everyone else is solid, including the three filmmakers who make random appearances (Rob Reiner, Spike Jones, and Jon Favreau).
“I’ll tell you what I’m never eating at Benihana again. I don’t care who’s birthday it is.”
Clocking in at 3 hours, the film does feel a tad long. This is mostly from certain scenes dragging a bit, but not too much. Most of the screen time is used perfectly, and it all ads to the charm of this masterpiece. It’s paced well, and that helps the time go by quickly. You’ll never be bored though. You’ll be laughing your ass off or clenching your arm rests. And both will happen while you watch Leo try to crawl home while whacked out on Quaaludes.
I honestly can’t find anything bad to say about the film. Sure, some people will complain that it’s just a glorification of the hedonistic lifestyle these modern day Caligulas enjoyed. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a gloriously outrageous, over the top portrayal of the lengths the human mind and body can go to when nothing can touch you. Money and power corrupt, so when you have unlimited money, you might as well corrupt everything around you. But anyone who’s seen “Goodfellas”, or “Wall Street”, or “Boiler Room” knows how this always ends. So cool it with the witch hunt.
“When you sail on a boat fit for a bond villain, sometimes you need to play the part, right?”
In closing, see this movie. It may not suit everyone’s taste with its rampant drug use, and numerous explicit sex scenes. But come on, don’t be so prudish. It’s a great film, and if this year wasn’t so strong, it’d be a top contender for the Oscars.