The Wolf of Wall Street FeaturedWritten by Jon Patch
Red Granite Pictures, Sikelia Productions, Appian Way and EMJAG Productions present an R-rated, 180 minute biography comedy drama directed by Martin Scorsese and adapted by Terence Winter from the book by Jordan Belfort with a release date of December 25.
Over the course of his career, Martin Scorsese's tackled many stories from the criminal underbelly of New York, but this time, he focuses his attention on the white collar criminal world of Wall Street. Jordan Belfort, played by frequent Scorsese collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio, gets his start in the late-80s at the bottom rung of the food chain and following the crash of 1987, things don't appear to be going his way until he discovers the largely under-regulated world of penny stocks. With his salesmanship, he is able to amass quite a fortune bilking gullible investors and builds an army of sleazy brokers to expand his empire.
Along the way, he recruits old cronies (including The Walking Dead's Jon Berthal) and an eccentric sidekick in Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) who proves to be both assets and liabilities along Belfort's rise and fall. His inner circle often seems adept at white collar crimes, but rather inept at covering their tracks.
The film is highly entertaining at various stages; however, it was widely reported that this film may have been pushed to 2014 and there was a rush to get a final edit together in order to qualify it for Oscar season. It felt like there was still some fat that could have been trimmed from the 3-hour final product, and I can't help but wonder if the film could have been a lot stronger if they had taken the time to tighten it up rather than rushing it into theaters. Some films with long running times can pass by quickly, but this is not one of those cases. It feels like 3 hours.
That having been said, I think Scorsese's output has been hit or miss since the early 90s, and I would say that this is one of his better efforts in the past 20 years. The cast all does a good job, including bit parts from Matthew McConaughey, as Belfort's coke-fueled mentor, and The Artist's Jean Dujardin, as a shady Swiss banker. I'm not confident on its awards prospects, though Jonah Hill probably stands as the most likely contender for an Oscar nomination – his performance seems like the white collar answer to Joe Pesci's thug in Goodfellas. It's certainly a film worth seeing, though not without its flaws. Written by Brad Carnall.
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