The Scorsese-DiCaprio teamup has resulted in quite a few good films over the last few years, and “The Wolf of Wall Street” is no exception. In fact, it may be the pair’s greatest film yet. Rejoice, film fans, because this is one wolf that packs a mean bite.
Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) wants to get rich (really rich), so he goes to the only place that can help him achieve his lofty goal; Wall Street. After a few years of making endless phone calls and selling phoney stocks, Belfort earns more money than even he could have dreamed of. But all good things must eventually come to an end, and when his life of white-collar crime finally catches up to him, everything around him comes crashing down.
I’ll start off with the acting, because this film boasts some incredible performances. Leonardo DiCaprio is simply electrifying as Jordan Belfort. This is probably the first time he’s ever been this funny in a role, and he delivers some amazing physical comedy as well. He’s certainly getting an Academy Award nomination for the role, although taking home the gold may be difficult given how tight the year’s race for best actor is turning out. Either way, this is Oscar-caliber stuff. Jonah Hill continues to establish himself as an A-lister, and he’s amazing as Belfort’s partner and friend, Donnie Azoff. Seriously, he’s hilarious, and don’t be surprised to see him earn another best supporting actor nomination.
I can’t go through all the performances, but everyone brings their A game; the extremely sexy Margot Robbie (she’s brilliant), Kyle Chandler, Jon Bernthal, Rob Reiner, Jean Dujardin…all of them. Matthew McConaughey is literally in the film for about five minutes, yet he gives one of the most memorable performances of the year. I still can’t stop thinking about it. There are also a lot of neat little cameos, including one from writer/director Spike Jonze (Her).
Scorsese does a brilliant job with the direction, and plenty of scenes are reminiscent of some of his older work. But if anyone can rip off Martin Scorsese, it’s Martin Scorsese. The film contains plenty of violence and nudity, and while it may sometimes be a bit gratuitous, it serves a greater purpose. The film brilliantly presents the excess that comes with making so much money. How much is enough? What do you do when you’ve done everything? How far can you push the limit?
The film has a lot to say about white-collar crime, and if it’s not very subtle, it’s because it’s not meant to be. By repeatedly showing us scenes of excessive partying, drug abuse, and an absolute disregard for married life, you begin to lose respect for the characters. Their shenanigans stop being funny after a while, and you become disgusted by the kind of people they are. You have no friends on Wall Street, and Scorsese makes sure you know that.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” finds Scorsese and DiCaprio at the top of their game. Scorsese is still one of the best directors around, and DiCaprio continues his streak of amazing performances. If I have one complaint, it’s that there wasn’t enough Matthew McConaughey.
Numerical Score: 9.5/10
Originally Published on A Geek's Blog
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