(US - 2013)
Directed by Martin Scorsese. Written by Terence Winter. Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Margot Robbie, Kyle Chandler, Jean Dujardin, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Cristin Milioti, Shea Whigham, Joanna Lumley, Ethan Suplee, P.J. Byrne, Kenneth Choi, Brian Sacca, Henry Zabrowski, Robert Clohessy, Christine Ebersole, Fran Lebowitz, Bo Dietl. (R, 180 mins)
Right on the heels of David O. Russell's de facto Martin Scorsese tribute AMERICAN HUSTLE comes the real thing, and while Scorsese, arguably American cinema's greatest living filmmaker, doesn't break any new ground here, there's nothing quite like watching a master do what he does best. Yes, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET finds Scorsese going back to the GOODFELLAS and CASINO well with his trademark relentless pacing, the precision editing skills of the great Thelma Schoonmaker (who hasn't worked on every Scorsese film but has been his partner-in-crime for the better part of 45 years, going back to his 1968 feature debut WHO'S THAT KNOCKING AT MY DOOR?), the breaking of the fourth wall with the protagonist directly addressing the audience, and a killer song selection propelling the action. In telling the story of convicted Wall Street investment broker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) in the same manner he did with Ray Liotta's Henry Hill in GOODFELLAS and Robert De Niro's Sam "Ace" Rothstein in CASINO, Scorsese is squarely in "give the fans what they want" mode. Yes, it's familiar, but nobody does it like Scorsese and there's something about this particular manner of storytelling and the way he manages it that makes it pure, unabashed cinema at its most electrifying. There's a palpable, kinetic energy to this film and in its expert assembly that makes three hours fly by and a convoluted storyline coherent. Jaded cynics might accuse Scorsese of spinning his wheels, but he's 71 and has nothing left to prove. He's earned it. You won't find a bolder, more free-wheelingly insane, and just flat-out entertaining film in theaters right now. There's only one Scorsese, even he's said he might only have one, maybe two films left in him. So just enjoy it. We'll lose something irreplaceable when he's gone.
GOODFELLAS" territory when Belfort has to come up with convoluted schemes to get his money into a Swiss bank and keep the Feds off his back.
MEAN STREETS youth, but he's still at the top of his game.