|Review by Benn Robbins|
Jean Dujardin, Margot Robbie, Kyle Chandler,
Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, Jon Bernthal,
Cristin Milioti, Spike Jonze, Joanna Lumley
Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is a fast-paced, frenetic take on the rise and fall of Wall Street’s Jordan Belfort.
This film is going to do for boiler rooms and stock brokers what 1990s Goodfellas did for heists and wise guys.
Playing on a similar structure and story-telling style familiar to both the director and his audience, from Goodfellas, Scorsese nails the cocaine and quailude fueled world of corporate greed and excess that is high finance and Wall Street wheeling and dealing.
He has pulled out all the stops in his use of stylized camera work, almost perfect use of sound, and the amazing editing of long-time collaborator, Thelma Schoonmaker, to immerse the audience in the insanity and decadence of Belfort’s world.
Leonardo DiCaprio delivers a tour de force performance as Belfort. Personally, I think this is his best performance of his career so far.
DiCaprio is supported by an amazing cast including a surprising Oscar-worth performance from Jonah Hill as the pearly white toothed, not quite all-there but loyal, Donnie. Rob Reiner returning to his acting roots as “Mad” Max Belfort, Jordan’s short tempered, foul-mouthed Father. Jon Favreau in a small but crucial role as “the voice of reason”. Matthew McConaughey as Belfort’s early mentor and out-there boss. Margot Robbie as the girls who steals Belfort’s heart. The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal in a great role as the loyal friend who does all the dirty work for Belfort. Joanna Lumley and director Spike Jonze round out the already amazing cast.
This is another in a long line of films that prove that there should be an “Best Ensemble” Oscar at the Academy Awards.
This movie isn’t going to be for everyone.
The violence, graphic nudity, and insane amount of drug use will upset some, however, Scorsese isn’t just showing it for shock value. Granted, it will be shocking to some. I feel, and I am sure the film maker feels that you can’t do this story of greed, money, excess, power and corruption without showing just how intense it got.
I have used Goodfellas as a comparison to this film as they both share a lot of similarities, both in film making and in the story they tell. To me, that is a high standard to hold to as I believe Goodfellas was one of the best films of the 1990s.
The Wolf Of Wall Street is a not quite as perfect a film, but it is close. It is Martin Scorsese’s love letter to that style of film making and almost like a small “Yeah, I still got it” nod to Scorsese’s self.
I highly recommend it and leave you with this obscure comparison.
If Goodfellas is Infernal Affairs then The Wolf Of Wall Street is The Departed.
I will leave you to figure out what that means.