The Wolf of Wall Street – 2013

Director Martin Scorsese
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin
Screenplay Terence Winter based on the book by Jordan Belfort

All throughout The Wolf of Wall Street, I wondered who it was exactly Scorsese was appealing to.  It made a boatload of money and people were quoting it all the time.  But then, people use the F-word all the time anyway these days.  Maybe they weren’t talking straight from the screenplay.  To my count, this is the second time around Martin Scorsese has attempted to recreate the magic of Goodfellas.  The first time, with Casino, he made perhaps the most stupidly brutal films of his career.  This time, we have more drugs and senseless sex than has been seen in a film in who cares how long.

Leonardo DiCaprio, being as unhinged as he wants Scorsese to demand that he be, goes above and beyond Ray Liotta.  Jonah Hill is an overstimulated, overfed and overbited putz.  Margot Robbie goes from sex object to Lorraine Bracco within two scenes.  Rob Reiner stands there, incredulous to the stupidity that surrounds him. The overall effect is nil.  This movie is what Scorsese does in between movies like Hugo and The Aviator.  He should not be rewarded for sliding back into a comfortable spot.

For those unfamiliar with this type of Scorsese film, it’s based on a book covering true crime.  Goodfellas was East Coast Mobsters, Casino was Casino Mobsters, and this was Wall Street scumbags who cold call you and somehow talk you out of your hard-earned cash into buying worthless stocks.  In the first two films, you’d get a casual voice over explaining the illegal doings.  At this point, though, Scorsese estimates his crowd is not as interested in knowing how the crooks do what they do, but how brazen they were in the process of doing it.  For a movie that tops out at 3 hours, I don’t feel like I know any of the characters.  Only thing that resonates is that these aren’t the kind of people that anyone would like to know.

Goodfellas is one of my favorite films of all time.  At the time, I had seen nothing like it.  Since then, I have seen several attempts to replicate it.  It would be flattering if it weren’t for the fact that one of the guys doing it did the original.

(**1/2 out of *****)


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