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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews The Wolf Of Wall Street

January 9th, 2014 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

The Wolf of Wall Street (18)
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill & Margot Robbie
Running Time: 180 min

Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.

The Wolf of Wall Street seems to be pulling at the puppeteering strings of all those morally sanctimonious individuals – forming a congealed and sticky mass, due to a coma inducing, amorphous, undelineated and homogeneous group of ‘journalistic film critics, quasi-popularish movie bloggers and tag-along-z-list-quaver-pundits who forever dwell in the subterranean stratus-es of dreadful hum-dinging commercial televised-end-of-the-year-countdown shows with their overly practiced; overtly and irritatingly imprudent sound bites.

Yet, one cannot help assuming that these are no doubt some of the same people who have decried annually at the unfathomable way in which Scorsese has been contemptuously and consistently robbed of the gloriously coveted award – the gold statuette: known as the Oscar. Let’s be honest, the debates are merely being conjured for debatings sake, creating a major surge of overspilled gumph and clogging up the over-saturated movie blogosphere, with nauseating shock factor reviews as opposed to integrity driven reviews.

Thus, even if some reviews generate controversy due to subjective but well-meaning reviewers (the late Roger Ebert springs to mind), they do so with good intentions, as opposed to the quirks of gaining some extra traffic flow. A self-fulfilling prophecy if you like; as in, the more some of the controversial issues get covered in the media, the more others compete to give a worsening opinion for the battle of the more detestable.

Thus, by mere proxy, these battles unfortunately become embedded within the lay person’s general chit chat that generates naïvely negative ‘word-of-mouth’. Luckily, with its second weekend drop of an impressive 28% at the North American box office, it seems some films are impervious to the cheap tactics of following the leader with intent to trip them up and do one better (or worse). Without typecasting, I have come across certain grating issues that contradict, not only Scorsese’s style of film-making, but also the topical, thematic and overarching ethos and style that is expertly and professionally exuded from the auteur, which begs the question – what were these individuals expecting?!

So, just to point out to many a culprit; it’s a Scorsese film, with Scorsese sensibilities – touching on a taboo subject and adding a darkly comedic spin on shallow vacantly void individuals. The film does not condone the behaviour of the characters (Belfont) and their derogatory outlooks as some critics have implied. Just like Goodfellas was not condoning Mafiosos; Casino was not condoning the seedy underworld of gambling and Taxi Driver was not condoning the extremely deprived nature of a sociopathic loner.

There are all the pervading traits of emotionally indispensable and inherently non-gratuitous voyeurism and profanity that offer the realism of the ludicrous state of play during the 80s market boom, which highlights some of the ridiculously profound situations that the characters find themselves in. The casual film-goer is not going to see The Wolf of Wall Street merely to count how many f-bombs were dropped (560) as so many reputable sources have been bellowing and ranting about, and thus, overshadowing the most important and fundamental aspect as to whether the film delivers the goods. There is nothing gratuitous in the sense that what is displayed shot-by-shot is done in such a meticulous manner as to offer naturalist and voyeuristic manifestations necessary to muster up a verisimilitude to facilitate the viewer’s comprehension toward the almost unimaginable aspects, expositions and character motives whilst being suspended in a disbelief that is not only entertaining, but also darkly facetious.

The Wolf of Wall Street has all the ingredients, which help create a riveting, amoralistic and emboldeningly absurdist film about the portrayal of the sex-and-drugs-fueled-shenanigans during the 1980s stock market boom. It is everything that the many flawed Bret Easton Ellis adaptations wanted and tried so hard to to be. There is no doubt that DiCaprio is the star of the film, creating such a versatile performance about a man who was considered a superhero dirtbag; portraying his roller coaster ride in a crazy and true story of debauchery that would even have Belladonna blushing. Everyone is pulling above his or her weight in this one, including what is left of Jonah Hill’s. He has the chops, as he has already proved acting alongside Brad Pitt in Moneyball, and due to the darkly comedic nature of the film, it is a role that fits Hill’s niche perfectly.

The film’s over the top content sucks you in because you feel you are part of the party for the duration of the film. This film is testament that an above average book can be converted into a great screenplay with a delightful ensemble cast, and have all these elements molded into a tangibly visual feast. Be prepared to laugh, cringe and maybe even possibly relate to Scorsese’s best since Goodfellas.

5 out of 5 Nerds

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I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.