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THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013)

One of the most audacious films I’ve seen in years, I f*cking loved THE WOLF OF WALL STREET! An excessive film about excess, I enjoyed every minute of the 3-hour runtime and was never bored. Quite the opposite. 


Directed by the 71-year old Martin Scorsese, it has the feel of being directed by someone a third his age. Still at the top of his game, it harkens back to his masterwork GOODFELAS bristling with brilliant camerawork and snappy editing and dialogue. 


Based on the despicable activities of real-life NY stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), the film follows his meteoric rise from nothing to his ultimate undoing at his own hands. He is the epitome of greed with a bankrupt morality. With a severe drug, sex and money addiction, he tore his way through people’s lives fleecing them for everything they’ve got to build a fraudulent empire for himself. 


The film has many divided on its merits. Some feel that Scorsese goes too far in glorifying Belfort and his lifestyle. Even though he ultimately pays for his crimes (sort of), he is never truly demonized, becoming a Gordon Gecko for the new millennium. And even worse, someone worth emulating. The fact is, Belfort left a trail of victims and destroyed lives to get what he wanted and he was a very VERY awful person. 


I chose to watch this tale of moral corruption, not as a biopic, but simply as a Shakespearean fiction like DePalma’s SCARFACE or Wells’ CITIZEN KANE. Viewed like that, it is a sight to behold. 


DiCaprio is electric. By far one of his greatest performances. Channeling Ray Liotta in GOODFELLAS and Alec Baldwin in GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, he creates a remarkable character all his own that shows his capabilities as a gifted dark comedian. The supporting cast is just as outstanding with Jonah Hill stealing the movie at times and break-out performances by THE WALKING DEAD’s Jon Bernthal and newcomer Margot Robbie. 


Though it’s Mathew McConaughey who gives the most surprising performance in what would be considered a cameo given the entire length of the film. He’s on screen for less than 10 minutes but stamps an indelible mark on the entire movie as the “mentor” who sets Belfort on his undertaking. 2013 is certainly McConaughey’s year. 


This film is not for the sensitive though. Much has been said about the 500+ use of the word “f*ck” as well as MANY other profanities. There is tons of drug use and a lot of full-frontal nudity. I…ahem…was not at the least bothered by all this. 


As I said above, I absolutely LOVED this film for all its overindulgences. I giggled like a fool through most of it and marveled at its impudence. If you can divorce yourself from the reality of what Belfort did, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET is a “blue chip” option.

JANUARY 18, 2014