Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Wolf of Wall Street, a Movie Review

Is it my imagination or does Leonardo DiCaprio have a habit of narrating movies he stars in? Well, if not, he does in The Wolf of Wall Street, in which he plays Jordan Belfort, a self made multi-millionaire stockbroker. Martin Scorsese comes through again. The movie is based on the true story of Belfort's infamous rise with his own brokerage firm on Wall Street and his fall due to crime and corruption. It is a story of the American dream, of wealth and success. And often with that fortune and fast life come fast cars, fast women, drugs, alcohol, and other excesses.

The movie crosses genres - it is a crime story, a biography, and a comedy at times. It is fast paced with very witty dialogue. Warning, I would not bring young children or bashful mothers to this film, there is a certain amount of nudity, sex, and mature language. OK, there is a lot of nudity, sex, and mature language, but it is well managed within the story. 

Dicaprio fits into the role like one of the tailored suits he wears so well. Jonah Hill (playing Donnie Azoff) once again takes the role of the side kick. Azoff provides humor in the film as a thinly veiled chubby gay man thrown into this testosterone charged world of Wall Street. Matthew McConaunghey makes a brief appearance as the broker who introduces Dicaprio to the "magic of Wall Street" and shows him where the money is made, not in the rise and fall of the market, but in the commissions on the trades, and that the object is to generate as many trades as possible. Rob Reiner plays the part of Max Belfort, Jordan's father.

The movie is well made, well acted, and well cast. The story is engaging and thank goodness, since it is 180 minutes (yes, 3 hours) long. I do not think I have seen a film this long since Gone with the Wind and that had an intermission - this does not. But, no part of the film drags and, honestly, when the credits started running at the end, I had no idea my attention had been absorbed for that long. 

Yes, this has Academy Award potential. DiCaprio deserves a nod, if not serious consideration for his performance here. And, the film is one of the best this year, but, then, it has been a year rich in films. I highly recommend it. Funny, I can honestly say it was not on my top list of films to see. Thank goodness, I did though.

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