Friday, December 27, 2013
The Wolf of Wall Street review
Jordan Belfort is a multi-millionaire stock broker and founder of Stratton Oakmont, a brokerage firm on Wall Street. He has a huge mansion gloriously furnished on the most expensive property there is. He often will have events at his firm that involve throwing a dwarf at a target, and bringing a marching band accompanied by strippers into the office. He has a trophy wife, and still enjoys the company of prostitutes many days of the week. Belfort takes a cornucopia of drugs everyday to keep him going, including morphine, because, as he says "Morphine is awesome!". He is the subject of Martin Scorsese's newest film, The Wolf of Wall Street. The film opens with Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) explaining who he is over voice over while, as I mentioned earlier, he is throwing a very small man at a Velcro target. Thus begins the extremely entertaining and often ridiculous tale of Mr. Jordan Belfort. This is one case where you can say truth is stranger than fiction. The film documents Belfort's rise from ambitious kid to multi-million dollar entity. And it also document his fall. First off, this film was incredibly entertaining. It may be Scorsese's best film since The Departed, maybe even since Casino, but it isn't Scorsese's best movie. What I can say is that it is Martin Scorsese's most entertaining, insane, and funny film yet. Truly, it is awesome to have a 71 year old man make a film so vibrant, crazy, and entertaining as this. The Wolf of Wall Street runs at about three hours. I was completely absorbed the whole time. Some critically acclaimed movies like Lincoln and Blue Jasmine were well done in many ways, but failed to keep my attention and entertain. Scorsese (with the help of screenwriter Terence Winter) manages to craft a wonderfully enjoyable film, that is also a truly good film. He's not sacrificing content and message for flashy-ness and beautifully filmed scenes (like movies such as Spring Breakers kind of did). Point is I really enjoyed The Wolf of Wall Street, and it was really good. For many, many reasons other than just being incredibly entertaining. The acting was quite good, for one. Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the most committed and talented actors working today. He is occasionally talked up for more then he is, but overall I think the guy is really good. He's proved he can act in movies like The Aviator, Django Unchained, and What's Eating Gilbert Grape. I can honestly say The Wolf of Wall Street showcases Leonardo DiCaprio's best performance yet. Him and Scorsese are a fantastic actor/director team that I hope keep on working together for many movies to come. I really hope Leo wins an Oscar for this. He not only personifies the money and drug addled craziness of Jordan Belfort, but takes the role to many different levels. Jonah Hill also gives a more than decent performance as Belfort's close associate and partner in crime, Donnie Azoff. Hill is definitely a capable actor as he's shown before, he only solidifies that now. The rest of the supporting cast is really good too. Matthew McConaughey shows up for a very funny cameo. McConaughey is an actor who I used to hate, and now really appreciate and love. His role here may be small, but it's still pretty damn good. Many of you may know that Martin Scorsese is my all-time favorite director. I have a lot of favorite directors like Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson among others, but Scorsese is the only one who never disappoints and always continues to wow me. I can't think of a bad movie the guy has made! His work here is a fantastic return to the insane form that inhabited some of his stuff like GoodFellas, Casino, and After Hours. The Wolf of Wall Street is insane and excessive and over-the-top, but Martin Scorsese does it all so, so well. He uses old devices like voice over and constantly moving camera to really tell this story. You could easily fail at doing the story of Jordan Belfort. You could make it too gratuitous without really giving meaning to the story and exploring the themes. Luckily Terence Winter and Martin Scorsese know what they're doing. The Wolf of Wall Street is about not only the excessive greed and malpractice of Wall Street, but it's about learning from your mistakes and the misinterpretation of the American Dream. What frightens me is that people will miss the meaning of the story and use it as an excuse and guide for trying to live like Jordan Belfort. Many people completely missed the meaning of Scarface, how excessive greed and power will eventually bring you down, and took it as a handbook on how to be a "cool" gangster. Similar to that, many people were "disgusted" at the film because of it's many scenes involving drugs, sex, more drugs, and other devious acts of debauchery. What these critic don't understand is that these acts are necessary to the themes and message of the movie! The Wolf of Wall Street is a cautionary tale. I just hope people realize that. I've heard a lot of talk recently about how 2013 is one of the best years for movies in a long time. With stuff like this coming out, I can't help but agree. We are in a golden age of cinema. Martin Scorsese is just one fine example of that. Scorsese is focusing on Wall St. for this movie. He is known for his mafia films like The Departed and GoodFellas. I think they're very similar. Scorsese paints a picture of excessive and crazy Wall Street life in the 80's and 90's, that isn't all that different from the mafia life he told us about in some of his other films. Making movies like this seems to be what the guy was born to do. If you haven't noticed by now, I really liked this film. Call me crazy, but it may be the best of the year (so far). And yes, I would watch it again in a heartbeat. I give The Wolf of Wall Street 5 out of 5 stars. Happy Viewing everybody. 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