If a film can work the words "Wall Street" into its name, there is a darn good chance that I'm going to get excited about it, and The Wolf of Wall Street had the two words, plus a great cast and big time Oscar buzz. I mean, rarely do movies come along that can fulfill my desires for a film and feature sophisticated financial gab. Even more rarely (in fact, never before) do those movies feature one of my favorite actors, Mr. Jonah Hill. No man can carry an entire movie for three hours, which I knew would make Hill's role as Donnie Azoff extremely important in the determination of judgement for the lead, Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio). Although I hate to sound like a broken record, DiCaprio is but a mediocre actor, in my opinion, and I can't understand why people are upset about his lack of an Oscar win. The Wolf of Wall Street had a lot going for it, but I wasn't completely sold. So, I figured I better go watch and see for myself...
Drugs, Sex, Money... There really isn't too much more to say!
Was the story interesting? Yes... But, after three hours of extravagance and blatant immorality, I could not wait for the movie to end! On top of that, there was very little financial gab, which really made me mad. In fact, on one occasion, Belfort began to explain what an IPO was, as he talked to the camera, but, after a few sentences, he noted that no one really cared what he was talking about. At that point, I wanted to jump up in the theater and yell "I CARE!!!!!... PLEASE TALK ABOUT IT!!!!!" It just frustrated the crap out of me, because my expectations were gradually plummeting, as they journeyed along for three full hours. I may sound discouraging, but there were some very hilarious moments and great performance... The story just wasn't for me.
While The Wolf of Wall Street, as a whole, may not have been my favorite, the actors' performances really blew me away. From Leonardo DiCaprio, as the lead, to the smaller roles, played by Henry Zebrowski and P.J. Byrne, the cast was spot on. The extravagance and blatant immorality (which I previously denounced) allowed for some intense performances that provided many laughs and exciting moments that had me quite impressed.
The only real negative that I found was Kyle Chandler's FBI agent, Patrick Denham, who just couldn't quite pull off the emotions that I believe he was supposed to be displaying. I'm not sure, though, because I could never tell what he was feeling or thinking or anything. If he would have been cut out of the film, it would have gone along just as well.
There were so many outstanding performances that it is very hard to narrow this down to a small section, but I will try my best. First, although his screen time was very, very limited, Matthew McConaughey's Mark Hanna was absolutely great. In fact, he was the only one who really had anything to say about the financial markets and how to take advantage of them, and, on top of that, he was quite a cutup. Second, Jonah Hill, who is one of my favorite actors, blew me away, yet again, as he continues to prove his versatility. Hopefully, Hill will merit a second Oscar nom for this performance. I'm certainly going to be cheering him on. Finally, the main man, Leonardo DiCaprio, gave what I believe to be his greatest performance to date. I've never been a huge DiCaprio fan, but with this performance, along with his amazing role in Django Unchained, DiCaprio looks to be headed in the right direction. He certainly put everything he had into this film and is deserving of any recognition that he may receive.
NEWS FLASH: Leo is going to have to wait one more year for his first Oscar, as 12 Years a Slave begins to overcome the awards season. Regardless, it was nice to be impressed by a performance of his, and the entire cast was quite impressive. Unfortunately, the length and mass of rediculousness failed to accent the great performances, which was quite disappointing. I have been waiting for The Wolf of Wall Street for quite some time, making it's mediocrity a tough pill to swallow. I know that many folks really enjoyed the film, so don't let my comments discourage you completely. If you have three hours to sit there and watch people pop pills and rob people, The Wolf of Wall Street will be the perfect film for you. For the rest of you, go watch Walter Mitty (no pills or robbing) or American Hustle (no pills, plenty of robbing). I give The Wolf of Wall Street 2.71 out of 5 stars.