The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street ★★★★½

This movie goes 0 to 100 so rapidly and then spends its next 2 hours pushing, pushing, and pushing beyond the precipice. This second watch managed to be even scarier than the first: even more clearly this time was I seeing men consumed by maximum excess and hubris at the presumed absolute height of achievable wealth and power. Seriously, why would ANYONE want this?

Dicaprio is clearly a culmination of Scorsese's previous favorites here. He's ruthlessly greedy, seems to realize he's committing extreme wrong, and yet ultimately revels in it. In that instance, it befits him that Belfort is also the most reprehensible figure he's ever built a film around. THE WOLF OF WALL STREET is terrifying in as much as Stratton Oakmont's widespread drug addled, dopamine blasting craze is pervasively depraved...and that's even without getting the FBI and the IRS invovled.

Conversation scenes are so long in WOLF that it's interesting to think about its editing process. When there's this much bursting out of the package, what could possibly have been left on the cutting room floor? It all works though, and it's practically miraculous. Unreliable narration running rampant throughout a three hour corporate extravagance epic? Check. Soundtrack popping and elevating like a bullhorn throughout every other scene? Check. NOTHING is subtle and i'd hardly want it any other way; the ultimate irony found in Belfort's descriptions of his life meant to hype it up even more instead resulting in nightmarishly garish highfalutin reenactments.

I mentioned in my previous review how the film constantly plays like a production straight from the hands of a veteran director. That holds true again, of course, but particularly it feels like professionalism exuding naturally. It COASTS at a super high level of skill that reasonably only decades of strain and ambition could've garnered. This is senior, late-career Scorsese, exhibiting the trademarks of his edgiest and most controversial work as if he were shaking off a bathrobe. THE WOLF OF WALL STREET was released on Christmas 2013, and for all the greed and selfishness showcased so hilariously, tragically, and excessively in it, it's maybe one of the best films to make you actually feel content with what you got.

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