The Wiseguys of Wall Street.
Comparisons to Goodfellas will be coming in thick and fast with this ‘real life’ tale of Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who broke a lot of rules to live the debauched life he so desired.
The voice-over for one. Was it just me or did Leo even sound like Ray at times? I don’t think this was a conscious thing but his voice had a little Henry Hill in it. (Kaaarrrrennnn).
The sprawling tale, taking the viewer though time to tell the story.
The fantastic soundtrack.
The reasons it’s not a 5 star film-
David Mamet once said:
EVERY SCENE MUST BE DRAMATIC. THAT MEANS: THE MAIN CHARACTER MUST HAVE A SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD, PRESSING NEED WHICH IMPELS HIM OR HER TO SHOW UP IN THE SCENE.
Now, as with Lincoln, we saw too many scenes with Lincoln giving his speeches, and it bored me to tears, Marty gives us too many Leo speeches, that don’t do any more than the previous one did.
I get the plot ones but other than that we get that Jordan is obviously a great rallyer of troops. We get it. Tighten up.
It is not propelling the story forward. Leo, as with DDL, is a great actor and I enjoy watching him (he reminded me of a young Jack Nicholson at times) but I don’t need to see the same scene with different words. It’s boring.
The debauchery is over-egged as well, too many scenes saying the same thing.
The film ultimately wasn’t tight enough. People talk about how long it was and in this case it was true. However, if the 3 hours contained a composition that merited the time then cool, bring it.
Roger Ebert once said: “No good movie is long enough and no bad movie is short enough”.
The film was a fun ride, no doubt and had a great deal of jokes and humour in it. The best scenes were with all the brokers, old mates, kicking it verbally. Very funny. The original dinner and the selling of the pen right up to the interviews, Usual Suspects style, were by far the funniest and it was a shame more wasn’t made of their relationships, I think it would have made for a more satisfying entertaining outcome.
Instead we were shown the relationship with Naomi a little bit too much. I get it, they love each other, she hates him, move on.
Everybody was great in it (I’m looking the other way when it comes to Jon Bernthal here) and the direction was as good as you’d expect from one of the greatest directors America (nay the world) has produced. The mighty Thelma Schoonmaker was doing her thing, but maybe there needed to be some more brutality in the editing room. It must be hard to be too close to the subject in order to see it clearly and through the eyes of an audience member, but people change with time and their aesthetic tastes change. Fair play.
Terence Winter (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire) was on screenwriting duties and delivered a script worthy of the great director.
Scorsese’s last great film (IMO) , was Kundun, in 1997 (apart from the George Harrison doc, which was wonderful).
I haven’t fully enjoyed the Leo/Marty collaborations, not that they’ve been shit, merely not nearly as good as the Bobby/Marty masterpieces.
The Wolf of Wall Street has probably been the most enjoyable of their pairings, but it’s not quite the masterpiece it feels like it should have been.
It is, however, very enjoyable and worth a watch, it’s a shame it misses the mark, it could have been as magnificent as Jordan Belfort’s appetite for narcotics, women and money.