Martin Scorsese is undeniably one of our great masters of filmmaking. He has done all kinds of genres, all kinds of styles and produced and directed some of the greatest films of the last generation. His latest film, The Wolf of Wall Street, is out this week on store shelves and was nominated for 5 Oscars at this year’s Academy Awards.
The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a Long Island stockbroker who made it big. He started as a penny stockbroker but grew his company fast and raked in millions and millions of dollars in a short time. As Belfort gets richer he also gets more and more detached from reality using his wealth for drugs, debauchery and fraud. When the FBI starts looking into Belfort, his world starts to come apart at the seams as he tried to maintain his elaborate lifestyle.
First let me say I love Scorsese and totally adore the entire cast. And they all did a great job in terms of their jobs on this film. But I had one gigantic problem with this film. Jordan Belfort (the real life guy I assume as well as the character) is a huge asshole. Unlike other film antiheroes like Gordon Gecko or Tony Montana, Belfort has no charisma or aspect of his personality that kept me wanting to see if he would ever be redeemed. He is just a total asshole who attracts other assholes so they can all party and abuse each other. Jonah Hill is becoming an amazingly talented actor, and while he is very good in his role here, he is just a lowly scumbag asshole who only identified with and becomes friends with Belfort because he sees the same scumbag qualities in him that he sees in himself. The resulting movie is one that I felt like I had to take a shower after and a film that just made me hate uncaring rich people even more than I did before the movie. And that is saying a lot. There was nothing at all entertaining about this movie; it just made me realize what a lot of money can do to someone who really has no value system in the first place. It creates a monster.
The Blu-ray from Paramount is gorgeous. The picture is razor sharp with amazing detail and a nice active soundtrack. Typical of a Scorsese film, this is technically pretty much perfect. I get that there are movies about unlikable people but there is usually a point to it. The Wolf of Wall Street is about a person no one should like who did things no one should admire.
Available March 25, 2014 on Blu-ray and DVD.