So....wow. So if you read my American Hustle review, one of the things I said was that that felt a lot like a Scorsese movie. That is, until I saw this. THIS is a Martin Scorsese movie. And hey! It actually is! Honestly this just might be the best Scorsese movie since Casino. In my opinion. Yes I'm skipping The Departed I know. And I loved The Departed. But this is better. Scorsese is one of the all-time greats. This is no secret. And from time-specific pop music, to some of the best voice-overs I have ever seen, to some of the best editing I have ever seen, the Wolf has reminded me once more why he is my favorite director.
So first off, the acting. If Leonardo DiCaprio doesn't win best actor, something is wrong. This is the best performance I have seen from him. Ever. So many great moments. Too many to describe. I will bring up one: the speeches. At several points throughout the movie, DiCaprio has monologues at his firm to get his gang of stockbrokers riled up. While every single one of them is an incredible monologue, one in particular stands out. That is when DiCaprio is trying to convince his stockbrokers to sell a stock of a company that he owned 85% of. (which is illegal, if you didn't know) There's an electricity in the air during that scene. This is without a doubt one of the best moments in cinema this year. Jonah Hill puts in a phenomenal performance as well. He is wild and unpredictable as Jordan's second-in-command, Donnie. And he is funny too. There's a surprisingly large amount of improv throughout this movie. Definitely the funniest Scorsese movie ever. Seriously, if nothing else watch this movie for DiCaprio's performance. And Jonah Hill. This is definitely the best performance I've seen from either of them. Will it win them awards? DiCaprio I'd say yes with relative certainty. Hill's got a lot of great competition so we'll see.
Next up, I have to talk about the voice-overs. Scorsese over the years has employed the use of voice-over narration in some of his classics like Goodfellas and Casino. Well, the voice-over narration here from DiCaprio is some of the best narration I've ever heard in a movie. Ever. So good that I have to mention it as a huge positive in the movie. A HUGE positive. Also Scorsese breaks the fourth wall at some points too at various points with DiCaprio and it works. So well. Just the flawless integration of having the narration become what's happening on screen is a craft Scorsese has been honing for years and he nails it here. This movie is just one of the best spectacles to witness in cinema this year. Oh and a great job with the pop music selection too. This is nothing new, but it was still a great thing worthy of mentioning. A lot of time was put into selecting the soundtrack.
Ok to move on from constantly praising Scorsese, let's talk about some negatives. First off, the movie was too long. It is one minute shy of three hours, and it definitely feels it. Scorsese probably could've cut out about 20-30 minutes of girls and drugs and the story would not have suffered. DiCaprio may have suffered but that's exactly why Scorsese didn't make any more cuts. The movie is really a character study on Jordan Belfort more than anything else. The other complaint I have is with the movie in general. It is crazy. Very similar to The Great Gatsby of earlier this year, except far more enjoyable. But still, it's about the parties and living the high life more so than it is about the illegal activities committed by Belfort. I was certainly hoping to see more of the illegal activities. But it is very provocative. VERY. That's the point. When you're living the high life you keep wanting more more more. Once you've snorted cocaine off a hooker's ass, what's next? Ten hookers at once? Then what? That's the whole point. It's a cautionary tale on the toll that greed can take on you. Not a tale about what Belfort did that got him in jail. Finally, I should mention that there is virtually no female influence in this movie whatsoever. All the girls here are here for the guys and their own pleasure. So stay away if you're a feminist. You will hate this movie from start to finish.
Overall, this movie is crazy as fuck. Like really crazy. Definitely worth the watch though. It is one hell of a ride.
The Critique: Scorsese and DiCaprio at their best. One of the craziest movies around, this is definitely in my top 3 best movies of 2013.
The Recommendation: VIEW AT YOUR OWN RISK....drugs, sex, and alcohol are literally EVERYWHERE. This movie did flirt with NC-17. Actually the reason it didn't come out back in November was because Scorsese had to cut out a few sex scenes otherwise it was going to be rated NC-17. So buyer beware.
Rewatchability; Moderately High
Where to see it: Should definitely be seen in a movie theater. If you can.
The Verdict: 9/10 Awesome
Oscar Talk: Nominees likely include Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Adopted Screenplay, Editing, Production Design