Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo Dicaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin
Rated: R (sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence)
Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stock-broker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.
The Wolf of Wall Street
By Cole Schneider
There is so much to like about Martin Scorcese’s (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas) newest film, The Wolf of Wall Street. The ensemble cast is great, the style is unique and over-the-top, and it’s the funniest picture of 2013 despite its three hour runtime. The movie feels big, but ultimately it’s only as large as its own party.
The film aims to chronicle the rise and fall of criminal stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio). It’s precisely those two things–the rise and the fall–where the film fails. Belfort’s rise seems shockingly quick. One minute he’s afraid of drugs, appalled by raunchy language, and trying to create a symbiotic relationship between firm and client, and the next minute he’s knee-deep in his own criminally aggressive debauchery.
His fall is especially problematic. Specifically because there is no fall, not really. In many ways, his story ends in a better place than it started and without the presence of any real change in the character. The consequences of his actions are levied against his family and friends and barely felt by Belfort himself. I imagine that the real Belfort is sitting pretty with his renewed celebrity.
Still, in the two hours between his rise and his fall, The Wolf of Wall Street is a hilarious satire of the values of capitalist America and a go-for-broke plunge into a Wall Street dominated by sex, drugs, greed, and ego. Ultimately the problems are too important to back the film, but it certainly makes its points in grand style before the credits roll.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.
The Wolf of Wall Street
By Matt Greene
We must address two things when talking about “Wolf”: first, the 3-hour runtime. That’s long, and at points the film loses focus and wanders. Second: it’s rated R, but the explicit amount of nudity, sex and drugs are tapping on the door of NC-17. However, “Wolf” is much more than these foibles. Bursting with life and youthfulness, “Wolf” is utterly and undeniably engrossing; a kinetic, spastic and hilarious peak behind the curtain of the debauch of America’s top 1%.
“Wolf” is the true story of Jordan Belfort, whose lack of morality helped make him and his friends some of the richest, shrewdest, and crudest brokers in the world. Every turn in the story is planted in some sort of sin, a chance to sell something to someone. And while the filmmakers are clearly condemning this behavior, in true Scorsese form he doesn’t allow us to sit on our high horses above these people, but instead forces us into their environment, and at times even rooting for them.
The performances are stunning. McConaughey is off-his-rocker brilliant. Hill is gone in his funny, neurotic role. At the center, Dicaprio gives his best performance to date, masterfully playing the monster behind everything with fervor and abandon. Add in the energetic editing and camerawork, “Wolf” contains some of the most memorable scenes of the year.
This is first-rate, oddly refreshing filmmaking that sticks to your ribs. Scorsese has stayed current and relevant for going-on 5 decades, making films like an excited younger man is behind them. If not for the moments of unnecessary explicitness, this would be a nearly flawless masterpiece.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars