By Ari Dassa
Maybe it’s New York that woke Scorsese up.
The Wolf of Wall Street brings him back to his beloved city, the first time he’s set a film there since Gangs of New York in ’02. It’s his best work since then, and great to see him firing on all cylinders as a director.
The Wolf of Wall Street has the sense of urgency that’s been missing in his recent films. It’s darkly comic, sick, vile, excessive and dares you to like the people it presents. The audience is encouraged to laugh at the crazy antics on display even though what they’re doing isn’t actually funny. Everyone is intensely dislikable and Scorsese doesn’t shy away from it. It’s his nerviest film in a long time, and a striking reminder that Scorsese made his name with provocative, edgy filmmaking that pushed limits and pushed buttons. Martin Scorsese can fascinate and demand your attention while showing you something repellent or ludicrous.
As with some of his gangster films, The Wolf of Wall Street is filled with information and loaded with storytelling – sometimes stories within stories, or situations that seem to end one way only to be corrected a few moments later to biting comedic effect.
Leonardo DiCaprio hasn’t been this off-the-wall since the 3rd act of The Beach, taking every sequence here to its coked-out extreme. It’s not really a nuanced performance (everything is out of control), but it’s something to see and he jumps into each scene fearlessly. Airplane orgies, comical quaalude overdoses, fevered offices speeches, the Candle In The Ass scene…..Leo’s on fire in this film.
Scorsese has certainly done more complex character pieces in the past, but The Wolf of Wall Street is still a vicious, brilliant return to form.
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET stars Leonardo DiCaprio , Jonah Hill , Margot Robbie , Matthew McConaughey , Jon Favreau , Kyle Chandler , Rob Reiner , Jean Dujardin , Pj Byrne , Kenneth Choi. The film is directed by Martin Scorsese.
Ari Dassa is an independent filmmaker who has written and directed several short films and a documentary. He was the founder of a film review website called ‘The Aspect Ratio‘, active between 2006 – 2011.