THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
(directed by Martin Scorsese, 2013)
***+ (out of 5)
> Big, messy fun, this is a kinetic adrenaline ride, showing Leo DiCaprio and Marty Scorsese romping at the peak of their games.
. This big, brash entertainment is a gleefully perverse celebration of greed in America, and the materialistic values that can rob a man of all conscience. Lot’s to praise here, but Jonah Hill’s performance was not among them. He really didn’t have that much to do in the film, and the script provided no real opportunity to get under his character’s skin and flesh out a three-dimensional person. Best supporting actor? I think not. Matthew McConaughey on the other hand, gives yet another in a recent hot streak of fine, quirky performances that blows Jonah Hill out of the water. (Perhaps the Academy thought that his Best Actor nod for DALLAS BUYER’S CLUB was enough recognition for now.)
. There is some discord- a kind of internal cognitive dissonance with this flick. This crazy film wallows in the excess it criticizes, the running commentary of the protagonist betraying a clueless hubris that perfectly encapsulates the arrogance of wealth. The first half of the film is a hoot, but when it’s time for the inevitable consequences to come due, the film’s considerable humor dries up, and it all gets a bit too serious for its own good, beginning to feel overly long and needlessly detailed.
. More ruthless editing would have made for a better film, but THE WOLF OF WALL STREET is a fun ride nonetheless, with Leo giving yet another strong, powerfully assured performance that further cements him as one of the most watchable actors of his generation.
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