Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Leonardo DiCaprio
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013). Director: Martin Scorsese.

"Their money was better off with me. I could spend it better."

The "true" story of crook Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), who ripped off numerous clients with his firm Stratton-Oakman, then had the gall to write a book about his exploits after he was imprisoned. The movie shows how he began it all, how he justified his actions, and the sex-and-drug lifestyle he became addicted to. While Wolf is admittedly fast-moving and sometimes funny, it's still basically three hours of looking at the life of a bigoted, self-important loser who barely deserves five minutes of our time. The movie doesn't necessarily condone his actions -- it just lets Belfort via DiCaprio [Inception] damn himself with his words and deeds -- but one could easily argue that Scorsese has offered Belfort a self-serving platform, covering up for him, and is just offering up another portrait of lowlives as he did with his mafia movies. Belfort acts as if his schemes are so brilliant, but a really smart person could have achieved his goals honestly. DiCaprio is okay and there are some good supporting performances from Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, and Matthew McConaughey [Killer Joe] and others, but surely Scorsese [Shutter Island] can come up with better subjects than this?
Verdict: Vastly overlong study of a complete loser but generally well-acted and well-made with perhaps more entertainment value than it deserves. **1/2.

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