Friday, January 31, 2014

Movie Review: "The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013)

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Movie"The Wolf of Wall Street"
Director: Martin Scorsese
Rating: R
Running Time: 3 hours

Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a young go-getter trying to make his way as a broker on Wall Street. After Black Monday, Belfort loses his first Wall Street job and is broke. With the assistance of his wife Teresa (Cristin Milioti), he applies for a job at a small investment firm selling penny stocks. Most of the guys who work at this firm don't have a lot of experience selling stocks. When Jordan takes his first call, he sells a huge amount of stock with little effort. Penny stocks allowed brokers to receive 50% commission per transaction as opposed to blue-chip stocks, which offer considerably less. Jordan devises a technique which allows him to earn large sums of money and eventually opens his own firm, Stratton Oakmont. He hires on his friends and teaches them all this technique, at first selling to small-time investors, but later, his wife suggests he try to sell penny stocks to investors who usually only deal in blue-chip stock. Jordan finds a way to do this and begins to earn millions. With more money than he knows what to do with, he begins to do hardcore drugs like cocaine and Quaaludes; he also throws huge, lavish parties, has sex with prostitutes and other random women, and lives a life of pure overabundance. This life of excess leads to divorce, remarriage, an investigation by the SEC and FBI, and many other problems for Belfort.

This might just be Leonardo DiCaprio's year, folks.
Actually, I find it mildly outrageous that he doesn't already have an Academy Award. What's up with that?

We know the above synopsis is long, but this movie is lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnger. 3 hours with extreme detail, good lord, Marty, reign it in! And boy, it felt like it. A lot of Scorsese movies don't feel as long as they are, but for some reason, this one does. It just sort of drags in some feel like the movie might finally be wrapping up, but then wait, there's more!

As much as I deplore the main character for his scandalous, drug-induced, scheming, cheating ways, Leonardo DiCaprio does a stellar job as Belfort in this true-life saga. DiCaprio almost manages to make this guy sort of likable. Jonah Hill is actually really good in this movie, if not over-the-top. He offers one of the best performances in the film for his portrayal of Donnie Azoff. Actually, most of the acting is pretty good and is almost a side note to the copious amounts of blow and hookers...

...let us warn you: this movie is not for the easily offended. In fact, there was an elderly couple sitting about 3 seats away from us. I don't want to give it away, but let's just say the opening scene features DiCaprio in a compromising position with a prostitute and a straw that may or may not be shoved somewhere where the sun doesn't shine. BigJ and I verrrrrry quietly looked to our left to make sure the elderly couple was okay with what was going on. They didn't seem phased. #AwesomeGrandparents

"The Wolf of Wall Street" had to initially be edited down from an NC-17 rating to an R-rating....and we don't really know what was cut in order to make it less bad than what was already shown on-screen. On the plus side, it's not really that violent, like, say, "Goodfellas." What this movie lacks in violence, it makes up for in gratuitous sex, drugs, and money laundering. This movie features much full-frontal nudity and extreme amounts of sex, 500+ f-bombs, and mountains of illicit drugs. Also, this movie really made the feminist in me toss and turn and be really annoyed and embarrassed for the way Belfort and his crew treated women. But that's beside the point.

It's all about exploring the decadence of the Wall Street lifestyle, and it really doesn't pick a side. As an audience, you can find yourself rooting for Belfort and his crew, despite the fact that what they are doing is illegal and immoral. You might sort of be hoping that the FBI and SEC don't put him out of business. If we take it out of the context of this particular film, we would certainly root for the FBI and SEC and hope that Belfort and his band of cronies were caught and would do jail time.

Overall, this is a well written, well acted, and well-shot film that runs about an hour too long and can drag in many places. It is funny and boasts a lot of memorable scenes. It's definitely worth a watch if you're not easily offended.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 73%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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