Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Wolf of Wall Street


  1. a compulsively watchable three-hour train wreck of a film
  2. a movie that exists so Martin Scorsese has an excuse for showing dozens of topless young women
  3. a sleazy trip into the darkest heart of the American dream, with an unrepentant dreamer as your tour guide
  4. the home of the very best performance Leonardo DiCaprio has ever given
  5. all of the above
The answer is obviously E, all of the above.

I was not bored for a single second of this movie that ran a only one minute short of three hours.  I knew how it had to end, knew its trajectory, and didn't like anyone in it, and still I didn't want to look away.  The direction and the performances were both so good that I was with DiCaprio to the very end.

The levels of nudity, drug use, and general debauchery were so high that at times they felt completely over the top--and yet, again, I bought that these characters went that far.

I was also taken by how very little Jordan Belfort, the character DiCaprio plays, learned and grew.  He managed to reach great heights of wealth and great depths of characters and emerge the same shallow salesman he began--though a more polished version of himself.

A lot of the movie's appeal rests on DiCaprio's performance, which is astonishing.  I'm generally not a fan of his work, but he was superb here.  When Oscar time comes, I hope he and Christian Bale battle it out; both deserve to win.

I very much recommend this movie, even though I don't think it teaches us much and certainly none of its characters learn anything, because it is a masterful and gripping piece of filmmaking.  Check it out.

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