The Wolf on Wall Street (2013)
Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, the Departed) directs a biographical comedy based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort. Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is a former Wall Street stockbroker who was convicted of securities fraud in the 1990s. The film largely glosses and then scrutinizes the common, manipulative tactics used during the era. The multi-layered and self-aware film evokes a relevant discussion on the pitfalls of wealth and the glorification of it within our society.
Belfort is a man consumed by the luxuries and temptations of wealth. He is consumed by the weightlessness of drug-riddled highs. His addictions stem from his insatiable appetite for extremes. Be they sexual desires or his outrageous consumption of drugs and alcohol. Above all his ego seems to be the one area that results in his downfall. His delusion of grandeur and invincibility, inexorably prove otherwise.
There are a couple of lull periods intermixed in the film, which only seemed inevitable with the behemoth 2 hr and 59 minute running time. However, it proved forgivable because of the merit of the plot and the acting. DiCaprio masters his most ambitious role. Jonah Hill, who plays Donnie Azoff, is also pretty terrific. Scorsese does an excellent job in managing the ebb and flow of the film. So well in fact, it was almost like sailing on a calm river. The plot kept churning along, while the viewer remained thoroughly engaged.
The film has spurred a division amongst critics and some fans. While it has received glowing admiration from critics, I have read some fans who vehemently hated the movie. While critics don’t always get it right (look no further than American Hustle) in this case they got it right. Jordan Belfort’s life was outlandish and fascinating.
I did want to mention that this movie definitely earns its R rating. There are graphic sexual content and explicit and numerous drug scenes. Admittedly it was a bit awkward watching such a movie in a theater full of people. If you are easily bothered by either, or by vulgarity (they use the F-word 506 times), then I advise you to stay home. Personally I did not have a problem with the depictions, especially because the movie was trying to depict Belfort’s life. You shouldn’t make a biography if you are going to pick and choose which characteristics you want to display while hiding those you find vastly immoral.
Overall, I thought the film was exceptional. I was pleasantly surprised by the pace of the plot; especially since I feared the running time would prove to bore me. DiCaprio should be nominated for an Oscar. Not sure if he should win, but this is definitely one of his best performances. I recommend you watch this movie in theaters. I also recommend you use the bathroom beforehand and bring/buy some snacks. Cozy yourself on the theater chair and enjoy the film. I surely did.
MPAA Rating: R (language, graphic sexual content, drug use and some violence)
Running Time: 179 minutes
My Grade: A-
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