Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)


Title: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Rob Reiner, Kyle Chandler, Jon Favreau  
                 
I went into The Wolf of Wall Street knowing very little about it; the only thing that pulled me in was knowing that DiCaprio and Scorsese were working together again, something they’ve been doing since they collaborated on Gangs of New York (2002). The Wolf of Wall Street marks their fifth collaboration! When these two get together they don’t disappoint. I mean, were talking about one of the greatest directors of our time, the guy who gave us Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995), to name just a few of the many memorable films that Scorsese is responsible for. There’s a reason why he is a living legend in the world of cinema, he is a director that lives and breathes films. He’s the kind of director that makes films because it’s his art; it’s what he was born to do, it’s what he loves, rarely do directors understand the cinematic language and it’s many uses the way Scorsese does and in The Wolf of Wall Street he puts all the knowledge he’s accumulated through the years to good use, the results are nothing short of one of Scorsese’s most entertaining films in years.


The film is based on Jordan Belfort’s book of the same name. It tells the story of how Belfort became a stock broker extraordinaire by starting his own company. Belfort was a guy who started at the very bottom of the corporate ladder by working as a stockbroker on Wall Street;  as Belfort learned the tricks of the trade, he slowly but surely made his dreams a reality: he finally got what he always wanted, his own firm! It isn’t long before Belfort and his team make so much moolah, that they don’t know what the hell to do with it! They soon discover many mind expanding ways to spend their millions: lots of parties, lot’s of drugs and lot’s of sex! Will money and power corrupt these guys? Or will they learn to do things the right way; avoiding ugly confrontations with the I.R.S. or the F.B.I? Can they get away with it?


The Wolf of Wall Street was released on Christmas Day as a beautiful Christmas present from Martin Scorsese to movie goers everywhere; actually I’m being sarcastic; the movie has nothing to do with Christmas, or anything nice, in fact, it shows one of the ugliest sides of human nature: GREED. The Wolf of Wall Street’s release coincided with two other films dealing with similar subject matter: David O Russell’s American Hustle (2013) and Ridley Scott’s The Counselor (2013); these are all films depicting greedy people going the lengths to make as much money as they can, as quickly as they can, so they can live the quintessential ‘American Dream’; which in all three movies quickly degenerates into an American Nightmare. You watch these three films and you won’t see good wholesome people playing by the rules. Nope, in all three you’ll see a lot of people making desperate moves to get rich quick; which is never a good idea. There’s been some bad press for The Wolf of Wall Street saying things like it glorifies this sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle, but in reality, The Wolf of Wall Street is a morality tale, in the end, the one to break the law gets caught. Greed and excess in these films are portrayed as sins. By way of an example, the tagline for The Counselor is “Sin is a Choice”, hell one of the many promotional posters for The Wolf of Wall Street shows Leonardo DiCaprio posing for a mug shot, so no, I don’t agree with those that say this movie glorifies greed, in fact, on this film, greed gets you a warm bed in jail.


But then again, you can’t really blame a film for being truthful either; I mean, the film isn’t about glorifying greed or excess, it simply shows things the way they happened, that’s it and that’s all. If it all appears to be one big party, than that’s probably because that’s the way it happened. In the interest of authenticity, Belfort himself was onset as a consultant in order to make things as truthful as possible, which adds a level of credibility to the film. There’s a difference between glorifying a thing and being truthful people! But you wanna know what’s really weird about the film? It’s how these guys are all doing these awful things, yet it all comes off as incredibly funny. The real deal with The Wolf of Wall Street is that it may not look like a comedy, but in reality, the film is hilarious! I saw it with a packed audience, and they were cracking up every five minutes. Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for a Golden Globe for this film in the “Best Actor in a Comedy” category, so that tells you a whole lot about the general aura of the film. Two elements dominate this film: comedy and schock value. I mean, these guys do some pretty horrible things on this movie, yet it’s all hilarious at the same time? DiCaprio plays Belfort with a snicker in his face the whole time, like he’s got it all covered and don’t you worry about a thing. Speaking of Dicaprio, the talented actor has been ignored by the Academy Awards for way too long, what gives? He keeps making excellent film after excellent film and they just keep on ignoring the guy. I was almost sure he’d win an Oscar for Django Unchained (2012), but no. Again he was denied! Hopefully the Academy will give him the recognition he deserves.


Oscar aspirations aside, I gotta remind you guys that this movie is crass, I mean, it doesn’t care one bit about being politically correct and I liked it! I mean, I’m getting pretty freaking tired with all these movies playing it safe and trying to be all polite and nice; leave it to Martin Scorsese, a cinematic child of the 70’s, to give us a movie with some big brass balls! This one is a hard R all the way! There’s a lot of shock value to this movie! When going to see this movie you have to ask yourself one question: are you ready to see Leonardo DiCaprio snorting cocaine out of some girls’ asshole? Well you better be, because that happens in the films first ten minutes, just to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into! Final words on The Wolf of Wall Street is that it’s a jolt of electricity down your spine; the last time I remember getting that from a movie was with Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994), so take that for what it’s worth. This is one of those epic movies that takes you down the life of a character from start to finish; from when they we’re nobodies, to when they become stock broking rock stars; you’ll go down the road with these guys as they get rich, party like animals, get corrupted and finally pay for all their excesses. Sure they all end up in jail doing time, but boy, what a ride eh?! Here I was thinking that Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity (2013) was going to end up being my favorite film of 2013; guess what, things change, so The Wolf of Wall Street is now my official choice for best film of 2013! Go see it!


Rating:  5 out of 5 


4 comments:

teddy crescendo said...

Francisco, i really enjoyed reading your reveiw of this film but i think (as per usual perhaps) that only Ty E over at Soiled Sinema has had the guts to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth with regards to "The Wolf of Wall Street", could you nip over to that site and read his reveiw and then tell me your opinion of what he wrote, i`d appreciate it, cheers my old mate.

Francisco Gonzalez said...

Sure I'll check it out, but how about you Teddy, what'd you think of The Wolf of Wall Street? Care to comment?

teddy crescendo said...

Francisco, i`m not really sure what i could add that you and Ty E haven`t already said.

Francisco Gonzalez said...

Your own personal take on it perhaps?

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