Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Wolf of Wall Street (9/10)

The Wolf of Wall Street is yet another amazing film from one of the best directors of all-time, Martin Scorsese.  I'd say it's easily his best since the 2006 flick The Departed.

The Wolf of Wall Street is the fifth collaboration between Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio and DiCaprio's performance in this film is nothing short of astounding. He plays Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who made millions but eventually served time in prison for fraud. Belfort is a real person and the film is based on his memoir. Terence Winter, who worked with Scorsese on Boardwalk Empire, wrote the script.

DiCaprio carries the movie on his shoulders, but the supporting performances are all solid as well. Jonah Hill is great as Belfort's right hand man and Matthew McConaughey is surprisingly effective in a role that basically amounts to an extended cameo.

Scorsese doesn't shy away from showing the sexual and drug-related excesses that went along with Belfort's riches and this had led many to complain that the film is glorifying criminal behavior. However, this seems to be missing the point.

Firstly, no one should be surprised at this point that a Scorsese film features immoral acts shown in an entertaining way. Also, the very final shot of the film showing an enraptured audience at one of Belfort's motivational talks seems to be indicting the film's viewers for this kind of thinking. And there are several moments that make it clear that Belfort is not that sympathetic of a character.

There's also been a fair amount of controversy of the sexual content. Some have felt that the film should have been rated NC-17. There are quite a bit of sexual scenes, but none of them really go past what could be acceptable in an R-Rated movie. Undoubtedly, Scorsese also has some pull with the MPAA and got away with more than an up and coming filmmaker could. Reportedly he did have to make some cuts in order to avoid the NC-17 rating, which would have severely hurt the box office take.

The Wolf of Wall Street also features 506 uses of the word "fuck". According to Wikipedia, this is by far the most uses of that word in a non-documentary, non-pornographic film.

So far, the movie has made over $34 million worldwide since its release on Christmas Day. The reviews have been mostly positive; the Rotten Tomatoes score is currently at 76% and the Metacritic rating is a similar 75 out of 100.

RATING: 9/10

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  1. Good review Kino. Movies like this I usually love, and this one was no different. It's just three-hours long, that's all.