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Cinema Signal: Potty-mouthed and endless. MOBILE version |
. "The Wolf of Wall Street"

One minute shy of three hours. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

It seems that actor Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Great Gatsby"), intent on throwing one outrageous anti-hero after another in our faces, has gone off the tracks of his own aesthetic baseline. Where oh where is the wily lead of "Catch Me If You Can," the dashing adventurer of "Blood Diamond," the young idealistic cop of Martin Scorsese's "The Departed"? Has it come to this?

Jordan Belfort's (DiCaprio) rise from a Wall Street coffee boy cum phone broker to a master of The Street is an extremely clever first act from the screenwriters, debuting Jordan Belfort and Terence Winter. But for the next act the whole house turns into an orgy of sybaritic splendor and a glorification of pathetic sleaze.

For me, the best part of this over-the-top flamboyance is the detailing of the stock market's rules and practices. The explanation of penny stocks and their being used in a totally underhanded and cunning way is fun and informative even though it's depiction would raise every hair on the head of an SEC (the Securities and Exchange Commission which oversees Wall Street trading) commissioner. In reality, this guy would be in jail stripes before you can say, "Martha Stewart."

There's a scene in which Belfort, looking directly into the lens and addressing the audience, explains some of the basic mechanics of trading to clarify what's going on in his journey to riches. Full well knowing that this very accurate outline is above the heads of most of the audience, which is being pandered to in order to keep them in their seats, he ends with a weak apology and turns his oration back into the theme of the sensualist pleasure that's being promoted as the ultimate reward for the morally desolate rich. But those who listen carefully to this dialogue would have learned something about the stock market because it was written by someone who obviously trades stock.

If there were only something in it that warranted the excellence of the production.

I would have preferred a title more like: "The Voluptuary of Wall Street." But, what the heck. "The Wolf..." will sell more tickets to those who like long, potty-mouthed pictures.

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~~ Jules Brenner


Opinion Section
Comments from readers:
Off base
I've seen the movie and disagree with the review
Site rating: 1

In reality, this guy would be in jail stripes before you can say, "Martha Stewart." It was based on a true story. This reviewer clearly did no research and completely missed the point of the film. Honestly horrible writing. My last visit to this site.

                                                           ~~ Kevin Mangold 
[Ed. note: Kevin is right -- no research was done for my review. It was based on the film itself. I find "based on... " is sorta like the guy who says, "trust me." If he hadn't a said it I would have. As disagreements go, Kevin, sorry to see you go.]

Off base
I've seen the movie and disagree with the review
Site rating: 1

"In reality, this guy would be in jail stripes before you can say, "Martha Stewart." You do realize that this is based on Jordan Belfort's life right? While there are embellishments, he definitely was not immediately jailed.

                                                           ~~ krazyfreakdxd 
[Ed. note: Since this is the most exaggerated movie characterization I've seen this year, I considered that it gave me the license to do the same with the Martha Stewart line. Of course the SEC doesn't act immediately. How about giving a writer a little room for a metaphorical statement, you who read a review with such literalness. And, think again about your dependence on the "based on a true story" clause. This isn't a documentary. Can anyone tell us what the fact-to-fiction ratio is in this saga?]


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Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) celebrates his latest win on
"The Street" for the benefit of his traders.

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