The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

3/5

USA; Martin Scorsese

Mature Audiences – Graphic Sexuality and Nudity; Pervasive Strong Language; Hard Drug Use

Based on what is claimed to be the true story of a corrupt, sleazy and enormously charismatic stockbroker hitting it big in the 80s and 90s, The Wolf of Wall Street focuses on Jordan Belfort (Leonardo di Caprio), a neophyte Wall Street trader who quickly and enthusiastically learns the tricks of his trade.  At first, he’s constantly gawping in bewilderment at the surroundings and excesses of the world he entered, but he is also, in his boyish way, certain to have found much more than a livelihood: a one-way ticket to heaven. His devilish, razor-sharp intelligence will do the rest, and his charisma and understanding of the capitalists’ psyche ensure he never runs out either of volunteers or victims. But as Belfort sinks deeper into depravity, he finds it increasingly difficult to keep his mind alert and awaken to the dangers imperiling his empire. 

Directed by a sacred monster and starring one of Hollywood’s hottest properties, The Wolf of Wall Street was bound to be one of this year’s cinematic high points. But, eschewing any auteurist concerns or modesty restrains, the director signs an unlikely, wholly unexpected thrill ride, whose mass appeal is blatant from the first frames. This is not to say Scorsese is unfaithful to himself. From its gleeful parade of unabashed amorality to its raise-and-fall parable of underworld lords, this dirty bomb is wearing its heart on its sleeve: it is unadulterated Scorsese, to the point it feels the director is deliberately caricaturizing and aping his style and thematic of choice. 

Scorsese is obviously in great shape, and so is his all-star cast, and they engage in hypersexualized mayhem and monster drug abuse with a gusto that is not always wholly justified by the quality of what’s on screen. It is a hard momentum to maintain, and if, undeniably, The Wolf of Wolf Street is a frantic, drugged-out kinetic surge straight into your retina, this can’t be mistaken for depth or meaning for too long. The film is so eccentric, fast-paced and deliberately grotesque that it is hard to involve emotionally in what seems a huge freak show. 

Capturing in hot, lurid details one’s truly, truly depraved man’s definition of hedonism, Scorsese’s latest opus is a gaudy bacchanalia laced with self-destructive nihilism, but as a drama it lacks depth and poignancy, while as a satire it is sadly bereft of wit and bite. It has, however, enough lucidity to see beyond the delirious, relentless debauchery and interlace it with a sobered and ironic ensemble picture.

An aggressive, extreme vision of hypercapitalism, The Wolf of Wall Street stretches the boundaries of taste and realism to trying lengths, but if you can swallow it, you’re in for something quite unparalleled since Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

 

Wolf of wall street dvd      Wolfie

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