Sex, drugs, money, and corruption. It’s the perfect Christmas movie.
Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” centers on the real-life rise and fall of stockbroker Jordan Belfort, played in the film by Scorsese favorite Leonardo DiCaprio.
The movie, based on Belfort’s memoirs and written by “Sopranos” and “Boardwalk Empire” alum Terence Winter, and is a three-hour foray into Belfort’s world of indulgence.
DiCaprio, who exemplified new money in “The Great Gatsby,” does so again here, in a far more no-holds-barred performance. He’s supported by Jonah Hill and his new accent, Matthew McConaughey, and relative newcomer Margot Robbie in her biggest big screen role to date.
Is Scorsese’s new film the head of the pack? We see what critics are saying about “Wolf,” which opens Christmas Day.
DiCaprio Revels In Debauchery
“A reliably good actor who too often shows you all the hard, technical work he’s put into creating a character, the DiCaprio of “Wolf” seems loose and uninhibited and freed of premeditated mannerisms. In his fifth collaboration with Scorsese, he’s a constant joy to watch, whether crawling across the floor like a baby while his bombshell second wife (appealing Australian newcomer Margot Robbie, who deserves more screen time) engages in a particularly cruel form of c***-blocking, or rallying his disciples with an impassioned variation on Gekko’s ’Greed Is Good’ speech. DiCaprio doesn’t just play this part; he inhales it, along with everything else that goes up Belfort’s nose and into his bloodstream.” — Scott Foundas, Variety
Worth The (3-Hour) Wait
“Clocking in just short of three hours’ running time, it needs a pair of scissors, another trip to the editing room and an intermission, but if you don’t have a bladder problem, ’The Wolf of Wall Street’ goes by as fast as a nap by the pool in Acapulco. The saga is long, and Mr. Scorsese seems hell-bent on filming every minute of it, but he never wastes your time doing it.” — Rex Reed, New York Observer
Hill Shows His Range
“Hill is also great in a turn that, like his Oscar-nominated one in ’Moneyball,’ feeds off his average-guy persona. Donnie always had a greedy monster in him, and once the genie is free, it can’t be bottled up — not even when Belfort’s accountant dad (Rob Reiner) warns them of too much excess, or when a wily FBI agent (Kyle Chandler) starts sniffing around.” — Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News
Style Over Substance, But That’s OK
“But when the film’s cylinders are firing, it’s impossible not to be dragged along. The big set-pieces — a coke-fuelled lecture from an unscrupulous Matthew McConaughey, a squirm-inducing encounter between DiCaprio and Joanna Lumley on a London park bench, a Mediterranean cruise that goes horribly wrong and, most memorably, a grandiose slapstick sequence involving a sports car and a fistful of vintage quaaludes —are among the most memorable of Scorsese’s career, rivalling ’Goodfellas’ for sheer vitality. The result may not be the most measured take on the ongoing financial crisis, but it is without doubt the most entertaining.” — Tom Huddleston, Time Out New York
Not Quite A Masterpiece
“The Wolf of Wall Street” is a terrific and fascinating movie, but it stops short of masterpiece territory — as a character in Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along” observes, “You want to know what true greatness is? It’s knowing when to get off [stage].” I’ve got no objection to a three-hour movie in theory, but Scorsese and his legendary editor Thelma Schoonmaker allow the film to repeat itself from time to time, overdoing a tale that is itself already about the act of overdoing it. — Alfonso Duralde, The Wrap