Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
Markus Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Rated R for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence
Now playing at Century 20 Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California:
This entire film is on cocaine…in a good way.
By now Martin Scorsese can write his own ticket. But his newest film, “The Wolf of Wall Street”, based on self proclaimed born entrepreneur Jordan Belfort’s own bestselling book about his rise and fall in the stock market scene of the late 80’s through the late 90’s, is surely the most vulgar and outlandish Scorsese film to date. It is a true wonder how “The Wolf of Wall Street” doesn’t pull an NC-17 rating. But if that sounds like a knock, it’s quite the opposite. The sheer ballsy-ness of this production is in fact, inspiring. It is inspiring to see a master like Scorsese evolve and constantly look to push the boundaries of film.
If there is one thing Scorsese knows how to do, it’s how to take fascinating characters who have lived spectacularly eventful lives and create a fascinating and eventful movie. And the character of Jordan Belfort is not only the wildest character Scorsese has put to screen, but is arguably his most interesting and complex character as well. Sorry, Henry Hill and Jake LaMotta. Played by one of the most dynamic actors working today, Leonardo DiCaprio who is absolutely unleashed, it doesn’t hurt that “The Wolf of Wall Street” also contains the best ensemble cast of the year. Jon Bernthal, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Favreau, P.J. Byrne, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley, Kyle Chandler (in his best role to date) Rob Reiner (in his best role to date) newcomer and Australian born actress Margot Robbie (who fakes a substantially better New Jersey accent than Scarlett Johansson in “Don Jon”) and Jonah Hill (and his fake teeth) if it were at all possible, should all receive Oscar recognition for their parts in this film.
While I still believe “American Hustle” contains a more flushed out script, because of how unapologetic Terence Winter’s writing is in “The Wolf of Wall Street”, he should (barring a spectacular upset) garner the Oscar for best adapted screenplay of the year. That said, as much as I enjoyed the flow of this particular plot, shockingly there isn’t a whole lot of story for a three hour movie. Hell, 50% of this movie is dedicated to sequences containing wild sex/drug orgies. Also, similar to a “pure comedy”, the plot of “The Wolf of Wall Street” is highly tangential. Hence, it is about an hour longer than it needed to be, as during most sequences Scorsese allows his A-list actors to riff for minutes at a time, with no real purpose other than to evoke laughs. That said, with the lack of story, there is enough entertainment value to fill a four hour movie…so, there you go.
Greed is still good. Maybe the primary reason why “The Wolf of Wall Street” works so well is because of a certain something (a motivational adrenaline pump) within it. That same certain something which makes everybody stand up and shadow box in their living rooms after watching “Rocky”. Seriously, at one point, during the conclusion of one of Leo’s rallying the troop speeches, I was so pumped up and motivated, that I wanted to go out and make a few cold calls myself.
Final Thought: This high octane, hilarious, bonkers script on horse steroids, in conjunction with one of the greatest directors alive doing some of his finest work, in conjunction with a cast that seemed to all be feeding off of one another’s energy, is the reason why “The Wolf of Wall Street” is the most fun I’ve had in a theater all year.
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