Actors being Actors at their Best
When it comes to the stock exchange, the very best time to pick a time period for a movie is in the 80s and 90s days of excess. And if you want to turn that movie into a black comedy crime filled with corruption and betrayal, you canâ€™t go wrong with Martin Scorsese as a director.
Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a man making a fortune on penny stocksâ€¦and spending it all on sex, drugs and excess. It shows Belfort making a fortune, at the expense of the little man, and getting off nearly scot free. It should be annoying, but it is just plain entertaining.
Itâ€™s always amazed me how baby faced DiCaprio can play such a great villain. In this movie, he is no less than perfect. He is smug, self righteous, arrogant and utterly without remorse. What makes this movie fantastic includes DiCaprio frequently shattering the forth wall and making corrections right at the audience.
Terence Winter, whose previous credits include Boardwalk Empire, wrote the screenplay based on Belfortâ€™s biography, and he couldnâ€™t have done a better job. The film makes no apologies. Itâ€™s not designed to be an indictment of corporate America. Itâ€™s designed to say one thing. [more…]
â€œHey everyone, look how bad weâ€™re beingâ€
Martin Scorsese has not gotten worse with age. In fact, he just seems to keep getting better. The direction of the movie following the slick, fast paced dialog and over the top exuberance of DiCaprio. Visual jokes abound and the cinematic techniques could be used to teach a course in direction. Scorsese proves that he is now, and always will be, not just a director, but the director.
Of course, this isnâ€™t Goodfellas, but it doesnâ€™t need to be. Itâ€™s a movie about shocking excess and bad behavior. The stakes are not life or death. There are no stakes. Belfort made it clear in his biography that there was no one he was afraid to take from, and no amount of money was too much to take.
While some might call this movie hollow and shallow, keep in mind itâ€™s designed to be hollow and shallow. It is a comedy of criminality, not flipping Schindlerâ€™s List.
My main problem with this film is the run time. In todayâ€™s world of instant gratification, 3 hours is a bit too long to expect to hold anyoneâ€™s attention, especially when the story has no true moral or comeuppance. This could have easily been covered in an hour and a half, and the massive 3 hour run time is something that should be reserved for epic fantasies, not fast paced black comedies.
DiCaprio really managed to keep a loose, love to hate him attitude throughout the whole movie. As much as you want to hate him, you canâ€™t. Heâ€™s just that charming.
I have to admit, Iâ€™m a little ashamed of enjoying this movie as much as I did, and I have to give Scorsese props for having the gonads to release this movie. In an economy where much of the poverty in this country is blamed on excess on Wall Street, it was truly a daring move to produce a movie that almost seems to be celebrating that same excess.
The Wolf of Wall Street is absolutely worth the watchâ€¦but get comfortable, because youâ€™re going to be there for awhile.
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