Martin Scorsese has had a very long and celebrated career in Hollywood. Mostly known for his numerous gangster films, for the last couple of years he has somewhat diverted his path into other film genres. The 2004 film The Aviator had Scorsese delving into the biopic field where he displayed the numerous weird characteristics of the late Howard Hughes. Shutter Island was Scorsese functioning in the psychological thriller subset and Hugo was his biggest departure thus far due the film being aimed more towards children. Now in 2013 Scorsese presents us with The Wolf of Wall Street which harkens back to his previous gangster films but does so using stockbrokers instead of Italian goons.
Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a man of great aspirations. He wants to move up the corporate ladder and doesn’t care what he has to do in order to succeed. While interviewing for a stockbroker position at a large financial film, Mark Hanna (Mathew McConaughey) who is the head of the firm sees something special in Jordan and decides to mentor him. After climbing the ladder, the firm that Jordan works for shuts down and he is forced to find a new job. Through a series of lucky breaks, Jordan is able to start and grow his own financial firm using underhanded and somewhat illegal tactics. Unfortunately the feds get wind of it and Jordan is forced to fend them off by stepping over the line into even more illegal territory.
The Wolf of Wall Street is Scorsese’s most brash and overall amusing film to date. The sheer level of over-the-top behavior presented throughout the film will having you laughing at a constant rate. The biggest laughs in fact come from scenes with little to no cuts. One scene in particular goes on for more than ten minutes with every new minute making you laugh harder and harder due to more outrageous antics being piled on top of each other. In addition, Jonah Hill plays a character with big, bright capped teeth that you can’t help but chuckle at every time he appears onscreen. Even with a three hour run time, the amount of humor inserted into every corner of the film makes mainstream comedies like The Internship look like complete horseshit in comparison.
Although DiCaprio gives it his all just like he does in every film, he doesn’t depart enough from his standard routine to make his performance truly stand out. At one point in the film he even appears to have summoned his character from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape for a short time but that alone doesn’t make him as memorable of a character as he should be. As mentioned before, Hill is a definite standout in the film but Kyle Chandler, Jon Bernthal, Margot Robbie, and P.J. Byrne also give incredibly noteworthy performances that will have you both thoroughly amused and also undoubtedly aroused throughout the film. The supporting cast is just plain great and helps to elevate the entire film as a whole.
Never was I ever bored while watching the film but I was however perplexed at times. Knowing before watching the film that the cut I was seeing was significantly hacked down for length made me feel that something was missing. Perhaps an entire subplot was cutout of the film that I don’t know about. Or perhaps the original cut had scenes go on for even longer than they do. Nevertheless, I can’t exactly put my finger on it but the theatrical cut that I saw felt like a ham-fisted edit that needed a little more time in the oven. It’s not bad, but it could have been better. Even so, The Wolf of Wall Street as a complete package is undoubtedly worth seeing even with a bit of sloppy editing mixed in.
FINAL TAKE: 9/11
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About the Movie
Synopsis: The true story of Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who rose to fame through illegal financial tactics that ultimately led to the U.S. government coming after him.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Kyle Chandler, Margot Robbie
Run time: 180 min