The Wolf of Wall Street

January 18, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Posted in 2013 | Leave a comment
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Thanks to “The Wolf of Wall Street,” I have learned something new about black humor.  A film can be dripping with the blackest of humors and still not be a dark film.  “Wolf” is bright, colorful, high energy and cheerful even (this is no “Fargo”).  It trades darkness for something far more disturbing: soul wrenching, bone deep cynicism.  Here is something else I learned: I don’t like it.  I love a good black comedy but I found three hours of hedonism just too much for me.  I did not like these people (not a single one of them) and I was worn down by three hours of them snorting cocaine, popping pills, fucking, and fucking over everyone.  Scorsese is a genius filmmaker but this feels like a miss.  I understand that there is commentary in the excess but it was all just too much for me.  I was worn down by the end and truly just did not care.  The world (and Scorsese especially) loves DiCaprio but I still remain unconvinced he is capable of a subtle, truly masterful performance.  Sometimes I think I see it in brief moments of some films (“Revolutionary Road” was the last time) but it certainly wasn’t on display here.  If called upon to be “intense” in some form or another, DiCaprio can do that in spades.  It has gotten him an Oscar nod here.  But there’s no humanity behind this caricature.  The same can be said of Jonah Hill, who’s character here seemed like a variation on playing himself in “This Is The End.”  For a film that, ultimately, appeared to want to be a cautionary tale, it also wanted us to have fun with it’s characters.  Well, you can’t have it both ways.  Any moral lesson is lost in the glitz and I didn’t like any of them enough to have any fun at all.  In fact, I feel vaguely guilty that any portion of my $10 may end up in the real Jordan Belfort’s pocket.  In the end, this man made millions stealing from average Americans, got a slap on the wrist because he ratted out all his friends, then wrote a book and made a movie.  How does that chant go? Oh, yeah: “USA, USA, USA!”


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