Oscar Bait Season: The Wolf of Wall Street
Reviewed by Jordan Goodier
Here we are at least. The finale! The last in this year’s Oscar Bait list! Being a massive fan of Martin Scorsese’s films, I saved this one for last. The Wolf of Wall Street is a black comedy biopic directed by legendary director Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo Dicaprio in their fifth collaboration together. The film also features Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, and Jean Dujardin in supporting roles.
The film centres on the absolutely corrupt stockbroker Jordan Belfort as he builds his own firm from the ground up and breaks almost every law to do with the stock brokering business in doing so. This film doesn’t appear to have any new message other than the absolute obvious one that’s been told over and over for years; you know, the “crime doesn’t pay” one. The film is more focused on showing the absolute worst possible people, in a world that showcases the very meaning of the word “decadence”; and then the film has an absolute riot doing it.
I found this film to be incredibly funny for the majority of the time and I really enjoyed the moments when Jordan broke the fourth wall and interacted with the audience. I also loved the fact that the script was aware that the audience would likely have absolutely no clue about the various ins and outs of stock brokering and proceeded to acknowledge this fact within the dialogue of the film. So I thought that the writing for this film was pretty fantastic, very clever and interesting dialogue; also, tons of extremely funny scenes.
The actors in this film are brilliant too, Leonardo Dicaprio plays a very different role to anything I’ve seen him play before and it was very refreshing to see. Jonah Hill, an actor who I had once considered to be a “one trick pony” is proving me wrong more and more and that’s a pretty good feeling actually. Hill’s performance in 2011’s Moneyball was astounding and here he is again, playing another great role and giving another great performance.
The film is edited together well, the cinematography is excellent and even though the film is about two hours and fifty minutes long, it doesn’t drag and it doesn’t feel excessive in length to me. I’ve no idea what other people are talking about. However, even though I enjoyed this film quite a bit, I didn’t find it to be quite as good as Scorsese’s other works like Taxi Driver, Gangs of New York, The Departed and Shutter Island; but perhaps this is because he’s delved into a genre I’ve never seen him tackle before. The film is a fantastic black comedy and biopic, but there wasn’t that spark that’ll make it one of my all time favourite films. The Wolf of Wall Street is simply a really good movie; but there’s nothing particularly special other than Dicaprio giving a great performance (and one that we’ve never really seen him do before) and Scorsese directing a really decent film genre that he doesn’t normally do.
There has been criticism directed at this film for it’s “excessive” length, moral ambiguity and depiction of a lifestyle filled with sex, corruption and drugs that is apparently being “glamorised”. I’m not sure I agree with these criticisms. All the characters get what they’re due and either end up in jail or dead, apart from the characters who haven’t actually committed any crimes. As for the film’s length and moral ambiguity, if you’re making a film about these kind of people, then surely that’s the point? To show these despicable people doing crazy, disgusting things and having fun doing it?
The Wolf of Wall Street is a really good film but it’s not quite as good as I’d hoped it would be. It’s a really tough call to say who deserves to get the Academy Award for Best Actor this year, but Dicaprio has given many great performances over the years and this is his third nomination in the category. Maybe he’ll get it this year?
And with that, the Oscar Bait season comes to an end, what with (as I write this) the Academy Awards being mere days away. I’ve really enjoyed the majority of Oscar bait this year, which is good because usually I find half of them to be really dull. See you at the 2014 “Oscar Bait” season!
Catch up on all the movies:
- 12 Years a Slave
- Blue Jasmine
- American Hustle
- Captain Phillips
- Saving Mr Banks