A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
The legacy of Martin Scorsese is one that few directors are able to match, his filmography is timeless and he stands (at a mere 5ft. 4″) as one of the greatest modern directors of all time.
His unique styles and intricacies utilised in his filmmaking are well known, while his belief in strong bonds and working relationships in the creation process is too, very noteworthy. The bond that most think of regarding Scorsese is that with Robert De Niro; when thinking about the Scorsese/De Niro bond, films like “Taxi Driver”, “Goodfellas”, “Raging Bull”, “Casino” and “The King of Comedy” spring to mind.
However, it appears that in recent times, De Niro has been replaced by DiCaprio. The modernised Scorsese bond with Leonardo has produced films such as “The Departed”, “Shutter Island”, “Gangs of New York”, “The Aviator” and now, “The Wolf of Wall Street”; his most controversial film in a long time, if not ever.
Based on the life and times of multi-millionaire and real life “Wolf” Jordan Belfort, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is a cautionary tale that is essentially 3 hours of chaotic debauchery, exploring Belfort’s unfathomably wealthy life.
There was an expectation that “The Wolf of Wall Street” would be a smart, sophisticated and upper-class tale which intricately dealt with the world of business, and to an extent, that’s what it was.
However, the film was overall a dumbed down, ridiculous and eccentric mix of silly partying, an incredible consumption of drugs, high impact nudity and superfluous profanities.
Taking the basic plot of ‘Rags To Riches’ into account, “The Wolf of Wall Street” plays out as a sort of ‘Riches to less riches, then to more and more riches’ tale; the sense of struggle from the protagonist never really hits home; he has it pretty easy.Having said that, focusing on the classic ‘anti-hero’ protagonist and generating distance from the audience is something “The Wolf of Wall Street” appears to set out to achieve; furthering the image of Belfort and his status in the stock market. His morals are wrong (if he possesses any), his opinion on society is skewed and his concept of money seems masked by his arrogance and hubris; as smart a person Belfort is, he has more dollars than sense.
One of few highlights from this black comedy was the performance of Jonah Hill’s career, as he played Donnie Azoff, Belfort’s consultant, right-hand man and all round best pal. His performance is magnificent and delightfully funny as the geeky, sarcastic, energetic businessman and it should also be noted that he was not only the standout performer in the film, he was also payed a measly $60,000 for his services.
Apparently Hill accepted the minimal Hollywood wage because of how honoured and privileged he was to work with Scorsese; nobility does exist after all…well, thats noble by Hollywood standards.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” is fun and exhilarating without a doubt; yet it doesn’t stand up in terms of quality against some of Scorsese’s earlier and more acclaimed works like “Hugo” or “The Departed”. It doesn’t deserve it’s 8.5/10 rating on iMDB that’s for sure. It currently stands on iMDB’s Top 250 at number 77, which is both despicable and deplorable. Just the thought of the film winning any OSCAR gold is cringeworthy, and what a relief it didn’t win a thing at this year’s ceremony.
In order for Leo to win an OSCAR, he needs a role in which he firstly gives a faultless and radically unusual performance, but secondly and more importantly as it seems, he needs competition that is less fantastic than previous years, which is a big ask in itself.
His short fallings at the OSCARS merely boil down to Leo being a victim of circumstance; he is a fine, world class actor, it’s just depicting a real-life multi millionaire party animal who is essentially Jay Gatsby if he were a cocaine addict will not win an OSCAR when up against serious and somewhat introspective pieces (12 Years a Slave & Dallas Buyers Club).
Overall, “The Wolf of Wall Street” was built up immensely, the excitement leading up to viewing it was unmeasurable and after the 3 hours of debauchery ended, the consensus was that it could have and should have had more substance and less mindless footage. Entertaining in bursts but ultimately falling very short, Scorsese’s latest has left him with a lot to make up for.