by Brad Nelson 4/13/14
Allow me to save you three hours of your life. I have to believe this is a valuable service I’m performing, for I must try myself to get back those three hours spent watching The Wolf of Wall Street, the latest (and by no means greatest) Martin Scorsese film.
I haven’t liked a Scorsese film since 1990’s Goodfellas. Scorsese seems to specialize in nihilistic films that are crude and violent for the sake of being crude and violent. The Wolf of Wall Street is no exception. I want you all out there to slap me if it ever get to the point where I have nothing left to say and the equivalent of my writing is just urinating in the street.
Granted, this film is supposedly based on a true story, so if the story is a mean and pathetic one, can one blame the writers or director? Even so, there is no point to viewing this film, even if you cut 60 minutes out of it, which was desperately needed. Martin, simply repeating the same scenes over and over doesn’t an epic make. Casablanca was only 102 minutes.
The Wolf of Wall Street is an exposition of corruption and an immersion into the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. This is a subjective statement, of course, but I believe you are beckoned into this film as a way of life rather than it being any kind of morality tale.
And that’s really the best I can say about this film. It’s not a morality tale. It’s not just a mindless 180 minutes of an anti-capitalist rant, which one might have expected these days when our president, for all practical purposes, is a Marxist. But what is it then?
Well, it’s about 180 minutes of watching people swear, take drugs, have sex, and just be crude. Truly, nothing about being rich exempts a person from being trailer trash, and that best describes the people in this film who, in my not-so-humble opinion, represent merely the cutting edge of a culture that has no redeeming value.
So one may watch this movie as an amateur cultural anthropologist. And that is the hat that I wore because all of the other hats were ill-fitting. If you are actually entertained by watching a movie such as this, there is likely something wrong with you. You need to go see a counselor and work out your issues. And if you make such a film for money, well, the issues can’t be all that much different.
Suffice it to say that I do think Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort gives a lively performance as the head guru of the his investment firm, Stratton Oaks. I give him full marks for getting into this film, and this character, and running with it. Never is there a self-conscious moment regarding him, although the same can’t be said for the truly mediocre performance of Rob Reiner as Jordan Belfort’s father. The same can be said of the relatively small role of Matthew McConaughey in the beginning of this film. Matthew, I wasn’t buying it, even a little. Even in the criminal aspects, this film, and most of these actors, lack the dark charm of, say, a Joe Pesci or Ray Liotta in Goodfellas.
So please do spend three hours today or at another time getting out and smelling the roses. The only benefit of this film is that you will feel the need to take a shower after watching it, and that can be refreshing. • (1438 views)