Monday, November 17, 2014

3 Short Paragraphs: The Wolf of Wall Street

2013, Martin Scorsese (Gangs of New York, Shutter Island) -- download

This movie, a big movie about big people starring big stars (Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill), is almost a parody of Scorsese styles with the monologues, the period setting, the big personalities and the grand locations. And it is immensely enjoyable while I weirdly cannot exactly say I liked it.

Jordan Belfort is not exactly the kind of guy you can root for. He's a bit of a dick. Well, more than a bit. But he's rich and loud and exuberant and knows how to make people feel important; as long as its making him money or getting him laid. Jordan is a stockbroker, one that gets hit by Black Monday pretty much on his first day. So, he turns to penny stocks and applies his scuzzy salesmanship to them. And thus are the millions made.

If this movie is about anything, its about rooting for the downfall of a terrible person. Its from a memoir but I doubt the real Belfort liked his less than shining portrayal. DiCaprio does a brilliant job of playing both competent and charismatic while keeping that scuzbag personality intact. He's backed up by mostly unknowns but, wow, does Jonah Hill make his scale pay on this one. Maybe it was those teeth, but this didn't seem quite Jonah Hill, less stoner aesthetic and more frat boy who doesn't mind paying for his popularity. But really, what makes the movie is Scorsese's style. He is very good at making in-the-gutter BIG, of idealizing a sub-human lifestyle, making us yearn for it but cringe at everything it stands for.