The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Robbie Reiner, Matthew McConaughey, Spike Jonze
Directed by: Martin Scorsese (Bringing Out the Dead; After Hours; Boxcar Bertha; Michael Jackson’s “Bad” video)
Synopsis: Leonardo DiCaprio plays a stockbroker who turns into a wolf every time he snorts enough cocaine to cover the surface to the moon.
This scene is fantastic. It’s all at once, intense, funny, upsetting and insane. Everyone acts their ass off in it, but I suspect Jonah Hill has actually done this before.
Worst part(s):This scene is very hard to watch, especially as a husband and father and someone who once punched my sister in the gut for taking my turn at a Donkey Kong machine.
Best line: Donnie: “I’ll tell you what, I’m never eating at Benihana again. I don’t care whose birthday it is.”
Nudity: There’s a surprisingly incredible amount of nudity in this. I wasn’t really expecting Margot Robbie, the female lead, to go full frontal, but here it is, and greatly appreciated… you know, from a crucial to the plot standpoint… And to even that out: DiCaprio’s ass and Jonah Hill’s fake wiener.
Overall: An incredibly well-made film by a true master filmmaker. Scorsese is just amazing in that he can keep up his astronomically high level of directing in his 70s. He’s old school, with old school meaning he gives a shit about his actors and the quality of his craft and truly brings out the best in everything he does (ok, Shutter Island was a bit of a hiccup, but he was out of his wheelhouse). The style of The Wolf of Wall Street is very similar to Goodfellas, which is a great thing. These are characters who should be reviled, but he makes you understand them. And a lot of that has to do with how Scorsese can pull such greatness out of everyone in the cast, giving them superb direction but also giving them free reign, and it works so perfectly. Because he cares. Leonardo DiCaprio is brilliant in this. I really don’t understand why he’s so overlooked by a lot of people. He’s absolutely one of the premiere actors in Hollywood, right up there with Larry David. Jonah Hill is also a total scene-stealer. Who knew that fat kid from Superbad would turn out to have such great acting chops? He plays a complete scumbag in this, but you’re always wanting to see his character come back on the screen. Depraved excess is the theme of this film, but it’s never portrayed as something to be admired. Jordan has everything, but you realize it’s all hollow, and his world is going to disintegrate eventually, and you can’t wait to see how it plays out.
The flaws are few, but there are some. The movie is a little long, and could have used some trimming (the aunt and Swiss bank scenes could probably go). But it’s such a good movie you won’t really mind that it’s 14 hours long. Also, Jordan could have been given a little more backstory, and his transformation from aspiring stockbroker to money-crazed dirtbag is done way too quickly. But that’s just nitpicking. I recommend this movie more highly than Jordan Belfort on expired Lemmons. If you’re an adult and a movie buff, there’s no reason you shouldn’t like The Wolf of Wall Street.
Score: 9 Jack Lemmons (out of 10)