The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street-coverWhat Jesse said:

Watch The Wolf of Wall Street. Martin Scorsese proves that he’s still interested in making real movies – Hugo was just an accident.  Leonardo DiCaprio is fantastic, and you get to see a whole new side to Jonah Hill. It’s really long though.

Mike’s verdict:

The Wolf of Wall Street has everything that I look for in a movie; the story, the script, the acting are great. All the pieces really are there and I agree with everything Jesse said. It kind of reminded me of Blow – but with stock brokers instead of drug dealers.

DiCaprio portrays an intensity that most people don’t even have in real life, let alone when acting as someone else. (Does DiCaprio remind anyone else of a young Jack Nicholson?) And it’s nice to see Hill can be something other than his own goofy self for once. He should do more serious films.

Unfortunately, despite all that this movie just doesn’t click for me. For one thing, it’s exhausting. It may not be that uncommon but 3 hours is definitely long for a movie with this level of intensity; especially since a lot of the length comes from scenes that seem to languish. I don’t feel that Scorsese has a good sense of when to end a scene – he frequently plays everything out on-screen rather than let the audience use its imagination. Usually, he pushes the boundary ‘just enough’ without really stepping over it, but in this case I had that ‘ok, I get it, let’s move on now’ feeling more than once. And by the mid-point I’d actually forgotten about Matthew McConaughey‘s character entirely because there was so much else going on.

A few scenes actually felt like they were stretched out on purpose just to make the audience uncomfortable. And one scene in particular was so over the top that if it was in a Will Ferrell movie most people would laugh at it. Since in this case it’s intended to be serious it’s a little hard to watch. And it doesn’t help that there isn’t a single redeeming character to identify with.

This movie is clearly about ambition and excess – but I think it falls victim to the dangers that it intends to warn of. It could use one more good edit to tighten everything up. Of course, I’m sure that when the Blu-ray comes out there will be an option for a 4 hour Director’s Cut instead of the abridged version that I’d rather see.

Over all, I’m still willing to give The Wolf of Wall Street 7.5/10 because it really is very well acted, and the story is interesting. But I’m in no hurry to watch it again.

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