Martin Scorsese's film, The Wolf is a combination of old-school Scorsese and experimental content meant to surprise. And it seems to have done just that. Critics have welcomed the otherwise scorned newness in this recreation of an autobiography.
If anything, The Wolf of Wall Street is NOT
"From its opening sequence — a quick, nasty, unapologetic tour through its main character’s vices and compulsions, during which he crash-lands a helicopter on the grounds of his Long Island estate and (not simultaneously) shares cocaine with a call girl in an anatomically creative manner — to its raw, chaotic finish, The Wolf of Wall Street hums with vulgar, voyeuristic energy. It has been a while since Mr. Scorsese has thrown himself into filmmaking with this kind of exuberance," writes A.O.Scott appreciatively in NY Times.
In fact, he thinks that the blemishes are what make the film look better.
"Even the occasional lapses of filmmaking technique (scenes that drag on too long, shots that don’t match, noticeable continuity glitches) feel like signs of life. This movie may tire you out with its hammering, swaggering excess, but it is never less than wide-awake," writes Scott.
"The Wolf of Wall Street is a magnificent black comedy, fast, funny, and remarkably filthy. Like a Bad Santa, Scorsese has offered up for the holidays a truly wicked display of cinematic showmanship—one that also happens to be among his best pictures of the last 20 years," writes Christopher Orr in The Atlantic.
That's saying something, especially because we're talking about Scorsese here.
"Yes, The Wolf of Wall Street is a solid three hours long—an earlier cut ran to three-and-a-half—and it would be a better film if it were shorter. But it’s easy to see why Scorsese was loath to cut further than he did. This may be the highest-velocity three-hour movie I’ve ever seen, a delirious and borderline addictive wash of adrenaline, testosterone, and controlled substances," Orr adds.
"It’s refreshing, if a little surprising, to see such a distinguished director taking such a crude and irreverent approach," writes a mildly surprised Geoffrey Macnab in The Independent.
"With its prowling camera work, R&B music, stylised slow-motion sequences, expletive-filled dialogue and highly inventive use of voice-over, The Wolf of Wall Street is directed with all the vim and vigour you would expect from Scorsese," Macnab notes.
And what about The Wolf himself? How does DiCaprio pull it off?
"The actor is just as unapologetic," writes Betsy Sharkey in LA Times.
"Fierce and in your face, DiCaprio's performance turns Belfort into the human incarnation of avarice and arrogance. This is not a likable man. But as DiCaprio increasingly proves, he is great at playing the irredeemable. I guess the wolf is not quite as bad as the sadistic Southern slaver he brought to merciless life in Django Unchained last year. But the performance is somehow more provocative in the way it traffics in modern-day sins."
Ooh, and we all know how much Django was appreciated, don't we?
Richard Brody of The New Yorker sees the film through the lens of the real-life story.
"The jangled story line sticks close to Belfort’s perspective; his voice guides the action, and Scorsese’s freewheeling direction captures the autobiographer’s raunchy, discursive vigor. He also introduces a great device to impose the protagonist’s point of view: Belfort narrates the action even while he’s in the midst of living it, addressing the camera with monologues that show him to be both inside and outside the events, converging on-screen his present and former selves."
I know what I'm doing this weekend.
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