You know, in school and life they tell you to honor thy wife, don’t drink or even think about touching drugs (rumor is if you so much as think about smoking pot you become addicted to crack). But after all the fun I had watching the hilarious, drug-fueled-sex-romp that is “The Wolf of Wall Street” how can I be expected to honor any of those promises?
Hilarious, intense and poignant, the story about real life stock broker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo Dicaprio) is not only one of director Martin Scorsese’s best, but it validates that despite his age and increasingly thick glasses he is one of the most versatile directors ever to roll a camera.
Clocking in at about three hours this movie is never dry or even remotely lags thanks to Dicaprio’s completely off-the-wall-bonkers performance and an equally insane pace. There’s enough drugs snorted or swallowed to visually overdose a horse and enough sex to collapse an obese Evangelical woman in a cat sweater. Needless to say I loved every minute.
What is miraculous about the movie is that despite the fact I never stopped smiling, and didn’t even acknowledge what is known as time for at least two and a half hours, is that it succeeds at depicting its money-grubbing subjects as despicable, greedy, and quite possibly even evil. Essentially what everyone already attributes to anyone who works on Wall Street.
This man, his right-hand Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), and all the other cronies loved scamming millions away from innocent people, probably willing to do it all over again if given the chance. But this is why the humor works so well: These men are viewed as monsters but the movie triumphs in making them look like children. A PERFECTLY executed scene of physical comedy involving Belfort, Azoff and some serious pills emphasizes this better than any as the two fight and claw each other for the phone when their money is at stake, making a fool of themselves and everything they deem important. All of the fear and evil we associate with this group of people diminishes into a gooey pile of immaturity that we can all aspire to be above. It is pure genius, and the movie Americans need right now.
Scorsese has always adapted to his movie, understanding how they need to be done to work. Whether it’s an emphasis on violence, paranoia and family (“Goodfellas”), the inner-workings and habits of a genius mind (“The Aviator”) or madcap humor that’s funnier than most main stream comedies (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) he finds the structure that works best and executes with full force, even if it goes against his usual style. And thanks to career best performances from Hill and Dicaprio, and tremendous script from Terence Winter all of this blends together for one completely nuts journey into the crazy depths of one man’s greed all the way to his tragic downfall. This is a story about the cruel nature of the American dream at its finest and if you can’t handle it then you can (insert any of the hundreds of curse words used in the first hour).