Throughout the last four decades, Martin Scorsese has been able to bless the world of cinema with many unique, mesmerizing, and inimitable masterpieces. That is because no other director does what Scorsese does. His selection of gripping screenplays, energetic soundtracks, and highly-talented acting ensembles have given us astonishing works such as Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), and The Departed (2006), to name just a few. That is why I was really looking forward to watching his latest film, The Wolf of Wall Street. Gladly, it is yet another Scorsese classic that easily finds its place amongst the aforementioned films of his. A magnificent motion picture that is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best films in the last decade, not only in 2013.
The Wolf of Wall Street stars an eclectic cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jean Dujardin, and Jon Favreau. The film is based on a book of the same name written by Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) who chronicles his meteoric rise, and fall, as a stockbroker in Wall Street. The motion picture is a biographical crime-comedy that runs for three hours.
There is no question that one of the key success factors in The Wolf of Wall Street is Leonardo DiCaprio's unbelievably great performance as the lead character Jordan Belfort. As Belfort, DiCaprio delivers a no-holds-barred piece of acting that I have not seen him ever deliver with such intensity in his remarkable career. He inhabits the demented and greedy Jordan Belfort in quite a natural and convincing manner that easily immerses audiences into his character's roller-coaster life, something that all great actors are able to deliver. With The Wolf of Wall Street now being his fifth collaboration with Scorsese, DiCaprio shows no signs of slowing down. Instead, he is at his freshest and most mature in this motion picture than anything before. Leonardo has not only done more than enough to deserve his Oscar nomination, but has produced a career-best performance, even rising above his wonderful roles in Scorsese's masterpiece The Departed (2006) and Christopher Nolan's mind-bender Inception (2010). A brilliant actor, for sure.
There are not enough words in any language that are able to describe how much of an impact Martin Scorsese's films have had in the world of cinema, with The Wolf of Wall Street being the latest reason why such a feat is nearly impossible. His directing is simply spot-on in all aspects, whether it be the pacing, the choice of soundtrack, the camera movement, or frantic editing. In most cases, films that are over two hours long usually suffer from audience fatigue, but not this one. Scorsese ensures that The Wolf of Wall Street flows smoothly from start to finish, containing enough action, comedy, and drama to keep all viewers highly entertained, which is also helped by his bombastic soundtrack that keeps scenes intense and vibrant, a typical Scorsese move.
Working on a script developed from Jordan Belfort's book and adapted by writer Terence Winter has also proven to be an excellent move. Winter's involvement should not come as a surprise as he has developed quite an impressive resume of his own, writing on beloved crime television shows such as The Sopranos (1999-2007) and Boardwalk Empire (2010-present), the latter of which Scorsese also produces. Terence's screenplay for The Wolf of Wall Street is quick, witty, intelligent, and well structured, enabling Scorsese to make full use of it whilst keeping his distinctive directorial style intact and used for maximum effect. The result is a screenplay that ranks amongst the finest ever produced.
I am pretty sure that there will be some filmgoers who will not be able to handle the excessive nudity, swearing, and violence found in The Wolf of Wall Street. However, I firmly believe that those scenes are important to the film since the whole point of this Scorsese picture is to show the incredibly flamboyant and over-the-top lifestyle these Wall Street 'hooligans' were enjoying. Other than that, you have Leonardo DiCaprio's fantastic performance, a brilliantly adapted script, and Martin Scorsese's distinguished filmmaking that when combined produce a powerful, explosive, and electric motion picture that will surely stand the test of time and demand multiple viewings. Suffice to say, The Wolf of Wall Street is a triumphant return by Scorsese that is highly recommended for all adult filmgoers.
MATM Rating: **** out of ****
- Leonardo DiCaprio (as Jordan Belfort)
Biopic / Comedy / Crime