The Wolf of Wall Street (d. Martin Scorsese USA 2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street (d. Martin Scorsese USA 2013)

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis at the bottom for any who wish to see one.

 

Entertainment: starfish starfish starfish starfish

Performances: starfish starfish starfish starfish

Predictability: starfish starfish starfish starfish

Technical: starfish starfish starfish starfish

 

Martin Scorsese is considered to be one of the giants of cinema. His filmography includes: Taxi Driver (d. Scorsese USA 1976) Raging Bull (d. Scorsese USA 1980) The Last Temptation of Christ (d. Scorsese USA/Canada 1988) Goodfellas (d. Scorsese USA 1990) and more recently The Aviator (d. Scorsese USA/Germany 2004) and The Departed (d. Scorsese USA/Hong Kong 2006) (A remake of some of the The Infernal Affairs (d. Wai-keung Lau, Alan Mak Hong Kong/China/Singapore 2002, 2003, 2003)). He has contributed to some of the defining elements of the Gangster Genre along with fellow giants: Francis Ford Coppola for The Godfather (d. Coppola USA 1972) and Brian De Palma for Scarface (d. De Palma USA 1983) (itself a remake of Scarface (d. Howard Hawks, Richard Rosson USA 1932)). This age of cinema, that brought us Taxi Driver, The Godfather, Scarface (1983) and the later Goodfellas, also shows us a common interest in crime and the long almost biographical look at the characters. This is a very large aspect of Scorsese’s style. In many ways The Wolf of Wall Street is a gangster film iconic of this age of cinema. The Aviator, though it holds back on its criminal element, greater reveals his interest in a biographical look on characters. Familiarity of Scorsese’s style greatly informs not only what the film will intail but also the fascination with him and The Wolf of Wall Street. Even to their critics, they have made some wonderful films. But can a man’s reputation overshadow their failures?

 

Leonardo DiCaprio (Jordan Belfort), as a frequent collaborator with Martin Scorsese, makes another appearance in this film. Along with the supporting cast, in particular Jonah Hill (Donnie Azoff) and Margot Robbie (Naomi Lapaglia), Leonardo DiCaprio gives some truly captivating performances. Considering the length of this film, some key cast members are under a lot of pressure to keep a spectator watching. The characters need to be varied and need to develop. Some moments may drag due to the films length, it’s hard and enduring – it tests the best of performances. There are some truly wonderful moments, where the actors excell themselves. There are also moments that truly test the capabilities of the actors. Both daring in content at times and daring to their reputations. A lot of credit also needs to go to the script, though it drags it gives some wonderful dialogue to the actors. This can especially seen in a moment with Matthew McConaughey (Mark Hanna), which was especially gripping for the words and concepts used in his dialogue.

 

Of worthwhile note in this film is some of the thematic content. The treatment of the characters lifestyle appears as a glorification of some of its elements. There is a lot of nudity, drug use and animal use. The nudity may at times feel excessive, the drug use relentless and the animal use …just plain questionable. Though it must be said that it is possible to question some of these elements they do also tend to lead to some of the more interesting moments. Nudity and drug use lead to some stunning performances and sometimes some technical flair. Using elements of slow motion and often restricted depth of fields to achieve some affects. The use isn’t without meaning even if it does feel a bit too close to kiss, kiss, bang, bang (cinema reduced to nudity and violence) at times.

 

To summarise. This film has a lot of strengths and seems to continue the style of Martin Scorsese quite well. Sometimes at danger of its length and reputation, the film is otherwise entertaining and ambitious. One of the favourites at the Oscars, it has just cause for this. But when all is said, a film to see at least once, probably not a film to watch over and over again.

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

metacritic.com

Official Site

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Site

Margot Robbie’s Site

Matthew McConaughey’s Site

Interview with Jordan Belfort

Interview with DiCaprio and Scorsese

Interview with Jonah Hill

Goodfella‘s Steadicam

How am I Funny?

You Talkin’ to Me?

Bang Bang

Raging Bull Moments

Good Lines from The Departed

The Aviator

The Aviator – Spruce Moose

Wolf of Wall Street Meets Meshuggah

 

Synopsis

The Wolf of Wall Street follows the life of a stock broker, who develops a plan to take the business by storm and then flaunt his own success. Something that may get the better of him at times.



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