Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ Review: DiCaprio’s Best Performance To Date

The Wolf of Wall Street marks the fifth collaboration between director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio (previously Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed and Shutter Island). I adore Martin Scorsese and I love Leonardo DiCaprio, so when these two team up for a film, it’s the purest movie magic of all and Wolf is probably my favorite of the five films. Yes, that’s right, I just said The Wolf of Wall Street is better than The Departed. Here’s why.

Scorsese’s film is three hours of pure madness and I loved every minute of it. It goes by so quickly and when it ended, I wanted more. There’s a lot of nudity, drug use, sex and a few scenes of violence. Leo is in every minute of the film and honestly, he’s never been better.

Based on Jordan Belfort’s memoir of the same name, The Wolf of Wall Street tells the story of crooked stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), his rise to the top of the stock exchange in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and his fall into prison because of crime and corruption.

Leonardo Dicaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street

We are first introduced to a young Jordan (a mild-mannered DiCaprio) as he is starting out his stock market training. Big-time stockbroker Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) takes young Jordan under his wing (and Zen factor) and shows him the ropes of the stock exchange. When Jordan loses his job fairly quickly, he begins to apply elsewhere and with the help of a new associate Donnie (Jonah Hill), the two hustle up some old buddies and start their own business.

DiCaprio gives the best performance of the year from any actor. The range he goes through, as an actor is incredibly good. The scene where he arrives to the country club while extremely high on a particular drug is the craziest and funniest scene I’ve seen in film all year. Seriously, it’s so funny, that I was crying laughing. For that scene alone, I hope the Academy honors him this year with at least a nomination, because he deserves the gold for this performance.

The rest of the supporting actors are amazing including Jonah Hill as Jordan’s best friend and fellow slimy stockbroker, he and DiCaprio have fantastic buddy-buddy chemistry; the beautiful Margot Robbie, who we saw in the short lived series “Pan Am,” is surprisingly wonderful as Jordan’s sweet, but complicated wife; Kyle Chandler is the FBI agent who has one of the best scenes of the film while he and DiCaprio are on a yacht; Rob Reiner is Jordan’s hard-knocking, yet understanding father; and Matthew McConaughey is only in the film for about 10 minutes and gives such a memorable performance as Jordan’s first money-hungry boss, who teaches him the ropes of wall street.

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The film was expertly photographed by cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto (Argo & We Bought a Zoo) and cut together miraculously by Scorsese’s trusted editor Thelma Schoonmaker (Hugo & Shutter Island). What was originally a four-hour long film and talk of a possible NC-17 rating turned into a three-hour long film and a hard R-rating.

The Wolf of Wall Street is one of the year’s best films and sadly won’t be recognized as such because of the late screenings among several critics groups. DiCaprio has never been better and it’s clear that Scorsese and DiCaprio’s relationship is stronger and more trusted than ever. It’s especially clear in some of the insane scenes that DiCaprio was doing in this film! Well Leo, you have my vote and this is one film that I absolutely can’t wait to see again in theatres and on Blu-ray.

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