Film Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

Wolf of wall street money stupid
   Jarvis Cocker is an incredibly wise man full of wit, knowledge and soft-spoken stories which entertain and enlight simultaneously. Perhaps my personal favourite quotes of his refers to being around people with narcotic habits: "You don't often hear people say, 'Oh, since he's been taking them drugs, he's such a nice person! He's really come out of his shell, he's really nice, he's blossomed.'"

   To put it bluntly - being around people on drugs (from cannabis to ecstasy and harder substances too) is never a pleasure. I'd hazard a guess that even an evening with Lucy Liu would drag somewhat if she decided to inject herself with horse tranquilisers for instance.

   Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street has not quite figured this out yet - like a student bragging about how many tequilas they slung back one night when they got so wasted they were sick on their own Rustler burgers, his latest film looks to glamourise something which is, well, kind of boring.

   Leonardo DiCaprio, as Wall Street trader Jordan Belfort, tells us how much he likes taking drugs and sleeping with prostitutes - we know this because Italian-American auteur Scorsese decides to ignore the old screen-writing mantra "show, don't tell". What we have is a three hour film in which we are shown everything, four, five or six times, whilst being told what we are seeing. It's patronising to the audience, amateurish as well as dull. In this time I could have watched the entire filmography of George Albert Smith multiple times, taken a shower, a nap and prepared a hearty meal too. Or, I could have watched Freddy Got Fingered twice and would have learnt infinitely more about the human condition.

   What little story there is in The Wolf of Wall Street concerns Belfort becoming rich very quickly and then indulging in debauchery. There's obviously a fall in this rise-and-fall story but, like the world's worst roller-coaster, 99% of the experience is rise and the fall only seems to occur because Scorsese has run out of tracks. What we learn here, over the course of the film, is that men given an almost infinite amount of money and no reason to stop what they are doing will indulge themselves beyond a healthy degree - in this sense, the narrative runs parallel to the director's take on it. It's like jukebox Scorsese but with all the greatest hits removed; the b-sides no one can stomach are all that is left.

   As a footnote, it's becoming something of a cliche to say that Matthew McConaughey is a remarkable performer but, in the few minutes that he appears, he is nothing short of magnetic. It's a shame that the same cannot be said of Leonardo DiCaprio who pulls his usually array of acting moves (raising a toast towards the camera, raising his eyebrows, smirking, etc) but whom rings much more hollow than he has of late.
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2 comments

  1. This movie was different, brilliant and one of it's finest this generation. I kept on thinking how a movie could rise up to be so good in acting and all other criteria when it's so full of sex and humor that may be termed unnecessary. This movie will always be a classic. I absolutely loved it. Martin and Leonardo's combination just seems to be effortlessly incredible and genius. BRAVOOO... GOOD WORK!!!

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  2. DiCaprio's a marvellous fit for the role, and his slimy charisma could charm even the steeliest of souls.

    Mica
    Plenty of Fish Reviews

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