Movie Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

wolf of wallEqual parts extraordinary and exhausting, Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street (B+) is a cynical cautionary tale wrapped in a fetching fantasia of decadent and grotesque true-life characters. Aside from the master director stunningly realizing his vision, Leonardo DiCaprio sinks his teeth into his role with grandeur. I don’t think the actor has ever been in such command of his craft, and it may be the greatest performance he has ever given. Somewhere in the second, third, maybe fourth act, however, the storytelling teeters a bit into true-crime formula. But there are so many devilish parts to relish. The film features the most seminal sequence involving stairs since Battleship Potemkin and some of the most darkly comic moments set to film involving addiction to drugs and dollars. No detail gets missed, from an ironic playing of “Mrs. Robinson” to fake get-rich-quick commercials. There are prolonged vignettes so good they needed to remain fully intact, but there are just too many of them. Scorsese wields a three-hour sledgehammer when subtler tools could have made a bigger statement. All in all, this is Leo’s tour de force and quite possibly the ultimate indictment of corporate corruption gone amuck.

I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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Posted in 2013, Rent It Tonight
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  1. […] he got to flex his acting muscles even more in The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio suffered for his art this year and will get his belated Oscar for The Revenant. […]

  2. […] nostalgic art direction, are timely and prescient; but after more richly textured tales such as The Wolf of Wall Street and The Social Network, this film could have used a bit more super-sizing in […]

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