When The Wolf of Wall Street hit production problems late in the year, there was fear that the movie would be pushed back to 2014 and we’d have to wait even longer to take in the next Martin Scorsese picture. After seeing the film, we can all be thankful that the wait wasn’t extended as the legendary filmmaker may have just painted his masterpiece on his cinematic canvas.
The Wolf of Wall Street is everything we love about Scorsese — it’s witty, it’s violent, it’s hilarious and it tells a story that touches on the American dream we all strive for. The film is quite literally Goodfellas for stock brokers as the gangsters where the same outfits but kill in different ways.
In Goodfellas, Scorsese’s film was carried not only by his iconic directing style but by the Oscar winning performance by Joe Pesci. The iconic directing is still here in The Wolf of Wall Street and so is the iconic performance thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio. If this isn’t Scorsese’s masterpiece, then it without a doubt is DiCaprio’s.
We assumed that the actor would be in the race for Best Actor at the Oscars this year but try watching the film and then not seeing him as the favorite. Sure DiCaprio stars in, narrates and carries the film but he does so in a way he’s never done before. This is the movie that officially puts the DiCaprio-Scorsese partnership slightly ahead of the classic pairing of De Niro-Scorsese.
That’s not to slight the partnership that is still held in high regard between Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese, but the director has truly found something special in DiCaprio and he seems to be the only one in Hollywood capable of tapping into the deepest most talented parts of DiCaprio. There have been great performances this year in films like American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave and Dallas Buyers Club, but DiCaprio’s lethal electricity in The Wolf of Wall Street is some of the most watchable acting we’ve seen not only over the last few years but from DiCaprio over his career.
He’s been snubbed by the Oscar before and he’s in one of the most competitive fields we’ve seen in years, but this is the performance that will win DiCaprio an Oscar — at least it should be.
Everything about this movie is air tight, from the tightly written script that packs a hilarious satirical punch, to the solid acting from not only DiCaprio but his supporting cast of Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey and others.
The script by The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire veteran Terrence Winter comes at you with razor sharp wit that knifes through you with it’s satire of Wall Street. But while it makes you laugh at midgets being hurled at velcro targets or the wild hijinks that occur at lavishly over-the-top parties, Winter reminds us that these people are having a ball on our dime and the dimes pinched into retirement plans of the innocent and unsuspecting Americans trying to save up for their own version of “the dream”. DiCaprio and his stock broker thugs steal the years of hard work put in by others and party on your grandfathers dime, pausing only to replenish their funds.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a bonafide Scorsese classic, up there with Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas. He’s not going to win Best Director, the film will not win Best Picture but sadly, this is how we know Scorsese has made the best picture of the year — which is something he’s done with The Wolf of Wall Street.