Reel Freak

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Reel Review – The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

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2013 was an excellent year for film, and its’ grand finale can be found in The Wolf of Wall Street, the latest addition to Martin Scorsese’s remarkable catalog. I was expecting a lot from this movie, simply because of Scorsese’s reputation; and it was perfectly capable of delivering.

 The Wolf of Wall Street recounts the story of Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio), who gets a job as a stockbroker on Wall Street.  There, he gains a mentor in Mark Hanna (McConaughey), who he learns everything from until the stock market crash of 1987, when Belfort loses his job. He starts working for a small brokerage firm surrounded by guys who had no clue what they were doing.  He is idolized there and soon decides to recruit a group of acquaintances such as Donnie Azoff (Hill) to start his own business out of a garage as a penny stockbroker.  While becoming addicted to sex, drugs and his own money, Belfort soon enough has the FBI on his tail for crimes he had committed; including money laundering and corruption.  The film focuses on his rise and fall involving wealth and power in just a matter of months.

DiCaprio’s performance is unlike anything else you’ll see today. He takes over the screen in such a striking and believable way. The supporting role of Matthew McConaughey was one of my favorite parts, though unfortunately his part was only for about ten minutes, if that. The entire cast felt like they took on their roles with meaning and helped make the film take off.

When it comes down to it, to me there were two major elements that made this film work as well as it did:

#1 – It’s constant sense of realism.  This is an extremely vulgar film, and Scorsese uses that to his advantage.  He depicts this story in a way that is incredibly realistic, with help from the “A++” performances by the ensemble cast and the story he got to work with

#2 – This movie is never afraid to be relentless when it needs to be.  A lot of people have been arguing that it is consumed by the amount of graphic sexual content and drug use, when in fact those are just some of the things that never let it skip a beat.

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 The Wolf of Wall Street is very funny, with a ton of witty dialogue and crude humor throughout.  Under all that though, there is a darker edge to it all.  It’s just as much a story of addiction and a downfall from greed.  The balance between the two tones is what brings it all together.

I strongly feel that Leonardo DiCaprio is definitely in a deserving position for Best Actor awards, as well as the movie itself for Best Picture.  Though it may be edged out by critic favorites like 12 Years a Slave or Dallas Buyers Club, there is always hope.

Another thing that I enjoyed about the film is that you can tell it is the work of Scorsese; between the profanity, the main character’s narration, and outstanding storytelling.  As one of my favorite directors, it’s refreshing to know that he’s still got what it takes to deliver modern classics; and being one of the most acclaimed films of 2013, The Wolf of Wall Street is just that.

My Reel Rating: 9.0/10

Written by Josh Sazin on December 27th, 2013

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