At this point there isn’t much that needs to be said about Martin Scorsese that he hasn’t already proven with classics like Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, and so many more than can be named. Over the last few years he has teamed up with Leonardo DiCaprio for films such as Gangs of New York, The Aviator and The Departed to name a few and they are back again with The Wolf of Wall Street. Thus far they have delivered some great award winning films together, but could this one continue the trend or have they lost their magic?
The Wolf of Wall Street follows a Long Island penny stockbroker who served 20 months in prison for defrauding investors in a massive 1990s securities scheme that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street and in the corporate banking world. To say that Scorsese and DiCaprio have done it again is an understatement. This film is their best collaboration to date delivering a brilliantly entertaining film. The story is based on true events, but they are so outrageous at times it is almost hard to believe. DiCaprio is at the top of his game delivering a performance that is manic, genius, deviant, and maddening all rolled into one. He showcases such a wide range of personalities as the character evolves that it is amazing to watch. He thrusts everything he has got into this role and it pays off in a big way. Thanks to his nomination for Moneyball, Jonah Hill delivers yet another brilliantly memorable performance that is as outrageous as DiCaprio but with a bit more bizarre thrown in for good measure. The rest of the cast all do a great job including Margot Robbie, Jon Bernthal, Spike Jonze, Jon Favreau, Rob Reiner, Ethan Suplee, and most notably Matthew McConaughey who isn’t in the film very long, but manages to make a huge impact giving yet another great performance.
The film is filled with varying subject matter including sex and drugs that normally would end up delivering a pretty heavy film, but while there are some heavy aspects this plays as a dark comedy more than anything else and works on every level. There are so many memorable insane moments that it’s hard to narrow any one down with some sequences almost playing like their own films. Every time you think they have pushed the limits as far as it can, it goes even further. There is a drug fueled extended sequence involving DiCaprio and Hill late in the film that is worth the entire film that words just couldn’t do justice. One aspect that could have gone horribly wrong, but instead works perfectly is the narration towards the audience making for an even more entertaining experience. This brings the viewer deeper into the film and along for the downward spiral of DiCaprio’s character.
This is easily the best performance of his career and one that will hopefully be recognized when it comes award season, but sadly more often than not DiCaprio is overlooked. The film runs right at 3 hours and while this may put some people off rest assured it is worth every moment and never feels like you are sitting there that long. This is the best film of the year and wraps up the year on a high note setting the bar pretty high. Let’s hope this isn’t the last team up between DiCaprio and Scorsese as they clearly still know how to bring the magic.