Director Martin Scorsese returns to form with The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Wall Street is completely bonkers, with Scorsese showing off a certain type of energetic bravado that puts many young directors to shame. The Wolf of Wall Street is not only a well-made, near masterpiece, but it’s also the funniest film of 2013 that clocks in at nearly three hours. Leonardo DiCaprio more than earns his long-waited Oscar, while Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey provide the film with well-balanced, but equally looney supporting characters. The Wolf of Wall Street is big, mean and in your face, but it’s also an interesting exploration of greed, money and power through one of the biggest asshole characters ever to grace the silver screen.
Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a young man with gigantic dreams and aspirations. He’s the type of man that will go out and take whatever he wants, whether it’s owed to him or not. He’s also well-educated and eager to build from the ground up, no matter the costs. The Wolf of Wall Street depicts his wild ride to the top and everything that comes after.
The Wolf of Wall Street isn’t your typical rags to riches story. It’s amplified by lots of drug and alcohol usage, plus lots and lots of sex. This is Wall Street on speed, laced with cocaine and chased with the most expensive of boos. And director Martin Scorsese tells this epic tale of money, greed and power through an unfiltered lens that reminds us of his Goodfellas and Casino days. This is Scorsese out-doing every other living director in Hollywood, while barely breaking a sweat.
He’s flexing his muscles and he does so in way that looks easy. Scorsese’s ability to capture a world that’s so nasty and mean, yet make it hilarious and entertaining is something that not many can do. He does this with the help from his frequent collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio. Together, the two can do no wrong, with Leo bringing a certain amount of unhinged and chaotic energy to Belfort that makes him both likable and detestable, while Scorsese maintains focus on the film’s bigger picture, which elaborately breaks down Wall Street in a way that hasn’t quite been done before.
Scorsese strips things down and presents them in their rawest and most natural form, highlighting just how ugly things are and how grown men can turn into savages at the drop of a dollar bill. It’s an interesting dissection made all the more real by the dozens of supporting roles that are given to the likes of Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Shea Whigham, Rob Reiner and many more. Scorsese spares no expenses capturing every single angle of the story through varying amounts of crazy and corrupt.
McConaughey sticks out the most in his brief time spent in the movie, literally spelling out the entire film within minutes and yet somehow making the journey about to be taken sound that much better. His conversation between DiCaprio’s character is not only one of the film’s funniest moments, but also its most important.
Jonah Hill and the rest of the supporting bunch help bring the drug-induced, mile-a-minute world to life, but never quite take the focus off of DiCaprio’s Belfort. That’s okay, because this is mostly Leo’s show, but it’s kind of disappointing seeing a Scorsese picture and only really clinging to one or two characters.
Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Jordan Belfort is the biggest asshole to grace the silver screen in ages. He puts Michael Douglas‘ Gordon Gekko to shame, earning an insane amount of money in record breaking time and absolutely pissing it down his leg in a glorified fashion. Belfort is the type of arrogant prick that everyone is initially jealous of, but the more he reveals his never-satisfied craving for wealth and power, the more it becomes clear just how gone he really is. There really isn’t any way to sympathize for Belfort after the film’s opening act and that’s largely why the film works so well. You may not get behind Belfort and his intentions, but watching him destroy everyone and everything around him is a lesson that we could all learn from.
The Wolf of Wall Street does suffer a little from running time fatigue. Scorsese’s film’s tend to be on the long side, but rarely is that noticeable. With Wall Street, there’s not an exact moment in the film that makes you look down at your watch, but the general free-flowing nature of most of the film definitely makes it feel like it’s never going to end. That’s not always a bad thing, but some might notice that the film is running out of steam or getting close to wrapping up, only to be surprised with another 45 minutes of chaos. I didn’t have any problems with the near three hour running time, because Scorsese and his lively cast make the best of each and every single sequence, but you’ll definitely feel the film’s bulk at one point in time, which is unlike some of his earlier crime sagas.
Scorsese tends to work a little tighter when he’s working within genres that need a more constructed plot. The Wolf of Wall Street is a much more open film that allows for growth and expansion on the fly and relies mostly on its characters and not so much key moments of the plot. This is a good thing for the film’s comedy, which if often-times bursting with dark hilarity and a natural charm that will make you go “wow” on more than one occasion, but this also hurts the film in terms of establishing its acts and figuring out when it should end.
These are all very minor problems when looking at the bigger picture. The Wolf of Wall Street is a big picture and one that will hopefully take audiences by surprise, with its unafraid approach to the world of Wall Street and the people that inhabit it. There’s heavy drug, alcohol and sex use, so don’t fool yourself into thinking that this is an all-age appropriate family film. This is an R-rated Martin Scorsese film that rarely holds back and instead comes fully swinging.
I said it before and I’ll say it again; The Wolf of Wall Street is completely bonkers. Martin Scorsese has crafted yet another near-masterpiece that roars. It’s an absolute riot and above all else, tremendously acted by Leonardo DiCaprio.
The Wolf of Wall Street – 9/10