Monday, June 9, 2014

Film Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

I seem to have a love-kinda uninterested/bored relationship with Mr. Scorsese.  This is probably a sacrilegious statement to most film critics who consider Marty to be the best US director working today and for the past few decades.

I'm torn on his works however.  I never cared much for Goodfellas but loved Taxi Driver and The Departed.  Maybe its the voiceovers of the amoral characters in Goodfellas and The Wolf of Wall Street that I couldn't enjoy.  Unlike Taxi Driver where you are merely watching the loathsome individual from the outside, in Wolf and Fellas you are asked to partner with and empathize with the protagonist who in each case is a fairly poor excuse for a human being.  Because of this I felt little interest in either and certainly wasn't invested in what happened to either main character.

Wolf is a well put together film as all Scorsese films are and there is no nitpicking that.  Its a sharp and beautiful film for what it captures on screen. Problem is, much of it is derivative and done better elsewhere.

For portraying scams and trading penny stocks on the backs of retirees, I prefer Boiler Room while the abusive, drug using husband, we can again go back to Goodfellas.  We also have the now getting tiresome use by Scorsese of various popular songs and music artists to key us in to moods, locations and timeframes--OK, we get it're know good, modern music.  You've been bashing us over the head with your musical tastes for 30+ years now, its getting old.

DiCaprio is his usual solid self and certainly brings energy to the role of Jordan Belfort, a phenomenal Wall Street salesman who built a fortune on the backs brokers he trained to sell high commission garbage stocks to those who could least afford to buy them.  His cocaine, booze, hooker, cash fueled lifestyle was legendary through the 80s and 90s and he nearly got his firm mainstream.  He eventually went to jail for his deeds.  In the middle of all this he fathered some kids, got divorced twice, did a ton of drugs, had a ton of sex, and blew a ton of money--whooopeee....I seriously don't care.

Jonah Hill has the secondary role here and got much of the praise coming into the film.  He is more annoying than anything here and mostly a coke fueled version of his usual schlubbly self.  He got his lifelong wish to act for Marty but I don't see this gaining him many more quality roles.

So all in all??  A pretty film that is quite flashy and has a good deal on the surface but nothing of import underneath...Much like the cliche of what the 80s (where the majority of the film takes place) were in general...

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