By Sean Czarnecki, Daily Film Editor
Published September 12, 2013
No living director today looks into the heart of greed and excess better than the fuzzy-browed master, Mr. Martin Scorsese. After the decidedly delightful “Hugo,” he now returns to that element of his craft so astute in its insights and so ferocious in spirit that it branded American cinema forever with his aesthetic: My fellow students, I give you “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
"The Wolf of Wall Street"
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Backed by the explosive Kanye West single, “Black Skinhead,” we flash through a jumble of images of power and parties while Leonardo DiCaprio (“Django Unchained”) introduces his character, Jordan Belfort, and his tale.
What follows is a parade of debauchery, egos let wild, megalomania unchecked, morals none — all raging to the inevitable and horrible end. And still, it looks glorious.
DiCaprio lets his body melt into a dance that can only be described as practice for his possible Oscar celebration. Margot Robbie (“About Time”) swaggers through the scenes like a predator out for the kill. Fellas, forget Daisy Buchanan: This is what money looks like. Corruptible, shallow, inexhaustible. And Jonah Hill (“This Is the End”) and company quaff down the booze and drugs, and yes, land the necessary funnies, thanks to the writing of Terrence Winter (“Boardwalk Empire”).
All is propelled forward by Scorsese’s trademark “mean street” energy and DiCaprio’s narration letting us in on the details. Despite that terrific pacing, we’re allowed sardonic moments of observation: DiCaprio hurls a little person at a target (it’s what they’re made for) and Matthew McConaughey (“Mud”) thumps through some very funny advice for Belfort as his mentor, Mark Hanna. There's little doubt McConaughey will steal his scenes.
You feel unclean to peek into this world few will know and many revile. But deep down, there is envy, a certain kind of thrill and at the end of the day, pity.