The Wolf of Wall Street – 8/10

A biography of notorious Wall Street banker Jordan Belfort in his own words.

In what appears to be a very strong year for the Oscars, The Wolf of Wall Street is narrowly beating out 12 Years a Slave as the most hyped and anticipated movie of the season. Does it live up to expectations? Not quite for me. There is no doubting this is a brilliant movie in its own right but in terms of legendary director Martin Scorsese’s back catalogue it wouldn’t make the top five. The Wolf of Wall Street is closer to the sprawling Gangs of New York and Casino then to the slick and concise (and better) works Goodfellas or my personal favourite The Departed.

One thing that lets it down is the cast, or rather the supporting cast. Di Caprio cements his reputation as arguably the best actor in the world with another wonderful performance. I will say though I preferred him in other recent triumphs The Great Gatsby and Django Unchained. Jonah Hill is very good in the lighter scenes but I felt he struggled with the harder more serious scenes, particularly when alongside Di Caprio. Slim pickings elsewhere with forgettable female leads and nobody to rival Joe Pesci in Goodfellas say or Jack Nicholson in The Departed. The best supporting actors (Matthew McConaughey, Joanna Lumley) are underused in small roles. On the plus side at three hours the pacing is perfect, it never feels boring and pleasingly it never becomes preachy which can be so easy when dealing with the subject of corporate greed (See The Company Men).

Di Caprio and/or Scorsese may well take home a golden statue for this but they have both made superior work. Still pretty vital viewing though.

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