Monday, April 21, 2014

My Glib Review of The Wolf Of Wall Street.

Glib Reviews of Recently Released DVDs

- Directed By Martin Scorsese

Its pretty difficult, given all the similarities structurally and otherwise between this film, and Scorsese’s most re-watchable film; Goodfellas, not to jump right in with comparisons. The stories of two very different, but maybe not so different kinds of criminals, diverge enough for the films to be distinct: Wolf Of Wall Street has a grander, slower pace than the rapid fire coke binge that is Goodfellas.

There is maybe more coke in ‘Wolf,’ than in ‘Goodfellas,’ but just as DiCaprio’s Operatic winking at the camera is tempered by other drugs, especially Quaaludes, Wolf Of Wall Street has a more labyrinthine languorous (I did doze occasionally) rhythm to it. The three hours feels like three hours, but in grand old Scorsese tradition, you feel the length is fairly well justified. Master film makers at work.

Though, on one viewing of Wolf Of Wall Street, I can’t call it a masterpiece, but I didn’t think that Goodfellas was the genius film making that now, after many many viewings understand it to be, back in the day, either. Marty’s (yeah, why not call him Marty?) films, even the ones that I don’t consider to be among his best, merit more than one viewing. There is always a lot going on.

I have seen, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, and King Of Comedy dozens of times each, and I still notice things I missed the last time, or read them in new ways given the person I am at that point in my life. Does ‘Wolf’ have that kind of staying power? 

Maybe, It is a hoot and very much a comedy. Any film where the main character is repeatedly breaking the fourth wall, not so much narrating as whispering in your ear, you have to take it with a sense of humour. The crew of weirdoes Jordan assembles as he climbs the ladder of ripping off both the poor and the wealthy with his penny stock schemes is so grotesque and absurd, they must be real.

Jonah Hill, who I am mostly sick of; completely rehabilitates himself with this one role, I can see him as something other than Jonah Hill staring at people, and occasionally saying something creepy and or funny. Hill’s Donnie Azoff is both creepy and funny as Jordan Belfort’s right hand toady/man. The horribleness of coke fueled penny stock fraud is laid out in lurid fashion throughout this movie. It is both horrifying and titillating to watch, which I am thinking is the intent of the film makers. The uncomfortable laugh has longer life than the guffaw in terms of watching a film more than once.

Scorsese is of course like only so many film makers, trying to knock it out of the park every time, to be in the Zeitgeist. This film achieves the Zeitgeist, the music, the era, evokes a certain pride, and a certain shame from most of us, who lived through that era (the 80’s and 90’s) except of course guys like Jordan Belfort;whose only real penance for all the fraud he committed, were tennis lessons in ‘Rich Folks’ Jail. At the end he has re-invented himself as another kind of huckster. At least Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill had to live like a schmuck in the end of Goodfellas.

For me, while I really enjoyed the film, it’s not one that I am rushing to watch again, like most of Scorsese’s films, I need time to think about it a bit more, and more importantly, discuss it with other cinephiles who have seen it. Currently I am slotting it as a mid-level Scorsese flick. It was a fun ride, but what else is going on? For me, not as much as I hoped. I really liked it, but I didn’t love it; loved parts of it.



7.7685 Creepy as Hell Jonah Hill Moments, Outta 10

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