Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) - ★★★★½

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: Terence Winter (screenplay), Jordan Belfort (book)
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Rob Reiner, Kyle Chandler, Joanna Lumley, Jean Dujardin, Jon Bernthal

The Wolf of Wall Street is easily one of the best films of 2013. Scorsese's newest flick is a breath of fresh air! It's an electric, roaringly fun movie that manages to make its 3 hour running time just fly by. It's nice to see DiCaprio shake a leg and play an eccentric, despicable man. What was even better for me was seeing Jonah Hill flex his acting chops and establish himself as a big player in the world of supporting actors. I'm not gonna lie, movies like this usually aren't my sort of thing. I go for substance, character development, and true portrayals of the human condition. Here we mostly see Scorsese's signature flare for the dramatic and a penchant for over-the-top entertainment. Wolf of Wall Street one-ups American Hustle by paying equal attention to its story and characters, making it a consistently brilliant work of cinema.

Based on a true story, we follow the life of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a man who clawed his way up the ranks of Wall Street, and managed to create his own company of crooked stock-brokers. It's a story filled with sex, drugs, and loads of criminal activity.

The Wolf of Wall Street was always going to be compared to Scorsese's other great works. I'm pleased to report that it definitely holds up with the best of his repertoire. The narration and character displays shades of The Goodfellas (1990), while its style reminds me more of Casino (1995). When it comes to drugs, alcohol, and eccentricity, I think Wolf of Wall Street tops them all! From cocaine to crack, and all the quaaludes in between, I found the whole environment to be extremely thrilling. I adored the soundtrack Scorsese used, featuring a cool blend of modern and classic songs. There was never a dull moment with the cinematography either. Above all of this, I have to give credit to the characters for being the most entertaining part of the film.

I am just so impressed with Leonardo DiCaprio's performance. He really gave his all to playing Jordan Belfort. He became this self-centred, cocky, despicable human being and completely shed any notion that he was simply playing a character. Mind you, DiCaprio is the most famous actor on Earth, so playing Jordan might not have been a big stretch for him... (don't hate me)! But seriously, Kudos to DiCaprio for delivering a performance worthy or recognition, and a nice little notch on his resume. However, I don't think it's as great as what people say. I wasn't completely blown away. I think it would be just plain wrong for him to win the Oscar this year. Simply because he is due for one, does not make this an acceptable role to win the award for. He's had much better performances than this, and there have been better performances in 2013. People are getting a bit carried away.

Half the reason I liked this movie was because of Jonah Hill's career-best performance. I don't care what anyone says, he freaking earned his Oscar nomination! He gave the most convincing performance out of anyone in the movie as the detestable, money-grubbing, drug-addicted right-hand man of Jordan. All of my favourite moments in the film included Hill in some way. He had such a commanding screen presence, and never faltered once in his delivery. I cannot praise him enough! I don't think he should win the award this year either, but I must say, I'm very happy to see he was nominated!

Rob Reiner, Joanna Lumley, Jean Dujardin, and Margot Robbie.

This movie has such a stellar supporting cast. I couldn't have asked for better! It made me so happy to see Rob Reiner flex his acting chops again, and he was fantastic as Jordan's dad! He always looked like he wanted to say "getting real tired of your shit, Jordan." Another thing that made me nearly jump out of my skin was seeing Joanna Lumley! She was fantastic as the aunt of Jordan's wife. I freaking loved the line "is he fucking hitting on me?" I adore her. Jean Dujardin was funny as always as a banker in Switzerland. I must say though... did anyone else catch a glimpse of his penis, or was it just me? Last but not least, Margot Robbie was sensational as Naomi (Jordan's wife). Honestly, she had the freaking talent to out-act DiCaprio in their arguing scenes! WHY IS JENNIFER LAWRENCE NOMINATED FOR AN OSCAR, AND ROBBIE ISN'T? It's all a popularity contest, THAT'S why.

There were a few scenes that left me in stitches! My absolute favourite was the fight between DiCaprio and Hill, when they both took one too many lemon quaaludes. I swear, that was one of the funniest sequences I've ever seen. Mind you, any scene with Rob Reiner and Jonah Hill pretty much made me laugh too.

Scorsese managed to keep me entertained for 3 consecutive hours, and that's a big task for a story such as this. There are scenes from this movie that will stay with me forever. I'll never understand why American Hustle has garnered more awards buzz than The Wolf of Wall Street. David O. Russell's film seemed like an amateur take on a Scorsese/Tarantino flick, whilst The Wolf of Wall Street holds up as a great addition to these comedic-crime masterpieces. Oh well, you win some you lose some. I thought I'd like this movie, but I never thought I'd actually love it. It's undoubtedly one of the best films of 2013.

1 comment:

  1. No!! DiCaprio deserves the Oscar this year as much as any of the other years when he wasn't even nominated. The cerebral palsy scene was just perfect (one example). But then again, I have a crush on him so I may be a little biased.

    I agree with the rest of your review. I haven't seen American Hustle yet, but I don't like J. Lawrence that much anyway. She has an obnoxious face and voice. On the other hand Margot Robbie is stunning and she played really well too (Long Island accent and all). She was breathtaking at the Golden Globes.