Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Wolf of Wall Street

      Director Martin Scorsese channels his inner Brian DePalma and creates his own "Scarface" minus the guns. This new parable of greed and excess is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, a stock broker who made millions off other people's money. 

        Mr. Scorsese piles on the drugs, sex, depravity, greed and white collar criminal behavior until you think you've seen enough and then piles on more. The film runs for three hours and never lets up for a second. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Belfort and he is electric. He's in almost every scene and fuels the film from start to finish.

         The film co-stars Jonah Hill as Mr. Belfort's eventually partner, Donnie Azoff and Margot Robbie as his trophy wife, Naomi. Both are very good. The only other developed character is FBI Agent Denham, played by Kyle Chandler. Everyone else is the film is basically a cartoon. There is a cameo by Matthew McConaughey that is brilliant and it's unfortunate that his character disappears soon after.

          There are flourishes of Scorsese greatness throughout the film and the first hour is fantastic. As the money and drugs start to flow, things keep spiraling out of control and as an audience, we get it but the excess just keeps coming which is obviously Mr. Scorsese's and screenwriter Terrance Winter's intent. There is a great two hour movie wrapped inside this three hour circus but unfortunately we are bombarded with every aspect of Mr. Belfort's life.

           The morale of the story is greed is good and so is the movie. But sadly it could have been great.

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