The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about Martin Scorsese’s latest “The Wolf of Wall Street” in about the time it takes to watch the trailer. Don’t forget to take a shot at the “Best Ever” challenge in the comments!
Can someone check the couch cushions at the Scorsese house, cause I’m pretty sure Martin Scorsese has lost his mind.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” is a satirical, zany, and kinetic look into the drug addled, sex craved, and money hungry world of the 80s stock market as seen through the eyes of Jordan Belfort, a stock broker who will do anything to stay on top. Leonardo Dicaprio takes the role and right off the bat let me say, Leo is on fire. He’s absolutely incredible in this.
Scorsese asks a lot of his actors, especially in an over the top spectacle like this, but Dicaprio seems to be able to live in this character in a wholly committed way. Chewing up the scenery and at the same time allowing the subtleties of slime leak from his demeanor. The performances around him are pretty amazing too, with Matthew McConaughey being of special note with his brilliant scene stealing performance as Jordan’s mentor early in the film. I also liked that the movie’s overall message seemed to be that money is as much of a substance abuse problem as alcohol, sex, and drugs, and the consequences can be just as dire, and yet Scorsese paints this message in a way that seems to revel in every act of debauchery, and celebrate the energy and seeming vitality of that way of life. And yes, I get that that’s part of the satire, but after 3 hours of adrenaline shots to the baser parts of human nature that message can get a little confused, not to mention exhausting. And based on the way the movie ends, it might actually be more about how life is really all about being a good salesman and that morality is secondary to moxie and charm.
Seriously, this movie is so insane from beginning to end that it almost acts itself as a drug, muddying your mind enough that you’re not quite sure if what you saw was real or fantasy. What I am sure of is Scorsese is playing without boundaries at this point. He has created a movie here that is gleefully depraved. And it’s hard to swallow. About halfway through the screening I was in, an entire row of people walked out, and I wasn’t even surprised. I mean it’s Scorsese so in some ways you know he likes to play on the edges but he really seems to be attempting here to push just about every button you could think of. Seriously we may need to stage an intervention. But the worst thing for me? It’s just that all that gleeful depravity has stolen any kind of real substance that movie might have had turning a valid warning about greed into a hollow exercise in pure adulterated entertainment
In the end, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is a visceral well acted satire that is intrinsically compelling in its exploration of greed and excess, it’s only that in celebrating that excess it falls prey to it’s own hollowness and can go no higher than a C+
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