46 years after his first feature film, and still nobody makes a Martin Scorsese movie like Martin Scorsese. The Wolf of Wall Street is a masterstroke, a return for this great director to the highly influential, now-ubiquitous stylistic roots of GoodFellas, but which takes and evolves those cinematic principles to have full weight, impact, and shock again in 2013 America. If GoodFellas was the perfect window into the life of the modern American gangster, The Wolf of Wall Street is an equally impeccable examination of modern America’s most notorious (and destructive) kind of crook – the white-collar financial criminal.
Backed by committed, go-for-broke performances by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, the film is the most damning and all-encompassing narrative feature made since the financial collapse about the sorts of monsters responsible for America’s economic meltdown. Exactly the crime epic we need for this day and age, the film bottles our national anger, buries it just below the surface, and lets it simmer to a terrifying boil as we watch the arrogance, selfishness, and unchecked debauchery of the central characters unfold around us in one of the most vibrant and energetic pieces of filmmaking this year. The Wolf of Wall Street isn’t pastiche, or homage, or a filmmaker resting on old tricks to tell a new story – this is Martin Scorsese making the next benchmark Martin Scorsese movie, taking his influential bag of gangster-movie tricks and making it all seem new again.
The Wolf of Wall Street opens December 25th in theatres nationwide. Read my full review of the film here.
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