The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street ★★★

Light on illuminating discussion, long on runtime, Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street revels in the excess of filmmaking as much as it does those of Jordan Belfort. Interviews with Scorsese, DiCaprio, and the screenwriter Terence Winter, lay bare the shallow thematics of the (limited) narrative, those being the unreliability of Belfort's accounts, stemming from a notion that America and its citizens lie to themselves as much as they do others. Especially when they are in pursuit of financial glory. Obviously the gluttony of power from wealth is also a primary focus, but what liberal mind out there does not already recognize such a pitfall? As is usual with Scorsese's work, sequences play out to the tune of classic rock, cut frenetically around increasingly bombastic acting duels. DiCaprio's performance is of the latter sort, existing in some unhinged, maniacal state of vibrating physicality, leaking spit and sweat at every turn. Jonah Hill, though less energized, delivers a caricature of a glutinous WASP that is appalling in its honesty.

Ultimately, the film can be read as either a failed means of dulling American audiences' fantasies of hedonistic excess or as an unreserved exploration of the American Dream as mythically bloated rendition of base primitivity. Either way, I've never been so bored by drugs, nudity, and sex.

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