What do you get when you mix together drugs, girls, money, debauchery, monkey’s, midgets, more money, more drugs, more girls, an excellent actor/director combination, and a true story that is almost too outrageous to be true?
Martin Scorsese returns to his comedic stylings in The Wolf of Wall Street after nearly 30 years, and we now have one of the funniest movies of the year. With someone as versatile as Scorsese, his dabbling’s in gangster flicks, biopics, family films, and psychological thrillers, have a mark on each of the genres. The Wolf of Wall Street is no different.
Coming in at just under three hours long, the film never really ceases in entertaining; it is a comedic epic. We follow Leonardo DiCaprio – in yet another performance that deserves that elusive Oscar that he should rightfully win – as Jordan Belfort, who we follow from his meager beginnings to a successful stockbroker, to becoming a hedonist, and then eventually his fall once the feds get involved.
Leo is so good in this role, he is exciting, loud, drugged up, funny, and in some cases just plain crazy. It is enthralling watching him give his “pep talks” to his employees. Once he gets money, he gets drugs, and he soon is popping Quaaludes left and right, spiraling into a hedonistic lifestyle filled with hookers, orgies, and cocaine. As much as I loved Bruce Dern in Nebraska and Chiwetel in 12 Years a Slave, I have to say I think Leo stands quite a strong chance at coming out on top for his very first Oscar. He is just excellent in this role, perfectly becoming the over-the-top drug addict who the story is based on.
The writing and directing in this movie is also phenomenal, combining the script writing of Terence Winter, the man who wrote for The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, with Scorsese, it is something else, and the sad thing is neither of them were nominated for their work. It has been 40 years since Mean Streets burst onto the scene and 37 after Taxi Driver, and Scorsese is still going strong. This movie is like a line of cocaine for Scorsese, where some directors lose their touch of vivaciousness as they grow older, The Wolf of Wall Street exudes the type of aura that makes one think this was made by a much younger director. The dialogue is fast, sharp, and funny. There are scenes right out of your average raunchy comedy with prosthetic penis’ and bad drug trips, and they leave you laughing until you cry. It is absolutely hilarious. The shenanigans that Belfort gets up to are so beyond unbelievable that one would think that it was all fiction, but it’s not. Facing cuts early this year that reduced it from NC-17 to an R-rating, one can only imagine the outrageousness that was cut from the original version of the film. From throwing midgets at a Velcro dartboard, to excessive amounts of drugs, and boat scenes reminiscent of All is Lost, the movie never stops getting crazier and crazier.
The supporting cast is also fantastic, with brief scenes from Matthew McConaughey as Belfort’s first “mentor”, introducing him to the idea of drugs being a necessity to get one through the day, and Jean Dujardin as the Swiss banker who seems all too sleazy, there is a great variety in the cast. But of the supporting cast, it is Jonah Hill who stands out. He can be a great actor when he chooses the right roles, he was even nominated for an Oscar for Moneyball, but he wasn’t even nominated for a Golden Globe for this movie, so hopefully when the Oscars come around he’ll get the recognition he deserves for his role as the second-in-command to Leo. He is just as funny and drugged up as Leo and the chemistry between the two is visible.
The Wolf of Wall Street is Scorsese’s best film since The Departed, and I was a huge fan of Hugo. He brilliantly steps back into the realm of comedy and directs Leonardo in one of his best performances. So go see this movie, because it is one of the best of the year, and one of the best from a master filmmaker.
- The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) (yakobmckee.wordpress.com)
- Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ review : worldleaks (worldleakss.wordpress.com)
- Movie Review Series: “The Wolf of Wall Street” (bagodonuts.wordpress.com)