Two years ago Martin Scorsese gave us the Christmas present of Hugo. Now he’s giving us the thematic opposite present of The Wolf of Wall Street. While The Wolf of Wall Street isn’t a truly artistic and imaginative take on 3D filmmaking, it is a shining example of how skilled Scorsese is at making a fantastic film. The trailers have done a good job of showing how you’re going to see the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort, but what they haven’t shown is how the tone is much closer to a comedy than a drama.
Hollywood likes to think of sex in movies that aren’t described with the word followed by comedy as either strange and forbidden or deeply personal and loving. Especially when displaying the depraved acts that Belfort and his compatriots commit on a daily basis during the time the film covers. It isn’t just the sex either, it’s the excessive drug use and reckless behavior set directly in front of you for your comedic enjoyment. That’s the only real surprise here, that The Wolf of Wall Street is a comedy biopic.
Quite a bit of credit for this incredible film has to be given to Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. Dicaprio has given us these brilliant performances before, but Hill shows us that Moneyball wasn’t a fluke and he deserves to be known as more than that chubby kid from Superbad. Hill’s Donnie Azoff is such a peculiar character that he gives such range to. He’s an important part of Jordan Belfort’s life and one of the key aspects in the evolution of his depraved personality. Even though we are only given a three hour window, we get to see Belfort become an awful person and Azoff only grow worse.
It can’t be said that Hill and DiCaprio carry the movie either, Scorsese has gathered a surprisingly star-studded cast featuring the likes of: Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, Jon Bernthal, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler and so many other faces you’ve seen many times before in movies far different than this one. They’re all here, lending fantastic performances that serve to make a great script into an excellent film.
When you’re presented with a story based on true events it needs to be crafted in careful hands, since there’s nothing in the end that can come as a surprise. Jordan Belfort is arrested for his crimes, but that’s not the interesting part, the journey is. These aren’t characters, they’re real people being portrayed by actors and it takes a great actor to make them feel real. That’s the secret behind The Wolf of Wall Street, it blends everything you need to make this type of film good and manages to exceed even that.
The Wolf of Wall Street has absolutely nothing to do with the holiday and represents the everything Christmas does not, but we will have to thank Scorsese for the fantastic gift of one of the year’s best films. It’s three hour run time may cause some unease, but they are three hours of laughter and brilliant storytelling conveyed by a fantastic cast. Treat yourself this holiday season with a tale of depravity in the name of money.
In Theaters: December 25, 2013
Runtime: 180 min
Rating: Rated R for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill
Genre: Biography, Crime, Comedy
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Official Site: http://www.thewolfofwallstreet.com/