The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street ★★★

Several years ago, I eagerly purchased Slash's memoir. I grew up on GnR, and I had heard good things about the book.

I threw it aside after about 100 pages because I could no longer tolerate the mud. "Yes," I wanted to shout, "You did heroin, and it sucked for you and those around you. Move on with the story!" Having failed to learn my lesson from that experience, I later found myself excited to start reading Motley Crue's oral history, The Dirt. This time, I didn't even make it 100 pages. Good grief, those guys were obnoxious.

In both cases, well-written books presented a pop culture era that interests me. And yet, I could bear to spend time with these people any longer.

That's how I feel about this film. Yes, I made it all the way through. But I did it under mental protest, telling myself it was going to become something else. Something where the immensely dis-likable characters grow or change or learn something. Anything.

But they do not. And it goes on. And on. And on. For more than two hours, I watched a lead character about whom I cared not one bit revel in his debauchery and ultimately suffer almost zero consequences. (In fact, Jordan Belfort himself makes a cameo appearance in the final scene.) Don't misunderstand me: I am not anti-partying, and I love watching a beautiful naked woman probably even more than the next guy. But this picture -- like those rock-star memoirs -- made me feel filthy. And what's worse, they bored me.

Perhaps if it had been truly funny? I have read that this film was intended as a satire of excess. But apart from a few well-done scenes, such as an inspired segment where they plan how to work with some dwarf entertainers and end up doing the chant from Freaks, it was just too much. I was disinterested and numb well before the end of the film.

If I hated it so much, why am I giving it 3 stars? Because DiCaprio was terrific in the lead role. I didn't like the character, but he gives it his all and presents a convincing soul-less hedonist. And Jonah Hill has done some good work but never approached this height. He, too, scores a home run as DiCaprio's lieutenant.

And along with some other excellent performances, I can commend a few sequences. The afore-mentioned dwarf discussion was hysterical, and the final "sell me this pen" moment approaches sublimity.

You may love this film. A lot of people are giving it 5 stars. More power to you. As for me? I have already lost interest.

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