Monday, December 2, 2013

Howling hurrah for Wolf of Wall Street

By Steve Evans

Martin Scorsese's new film The Wolf of Wall Street is getting some serious love on the cusp of awards season. Variety reports audiences howling with approval during early screenings.

Lotsa talk of probable Academy Award nominations for best pic, director and actor (Leo DiCaprio), as well as supporting actor Jonah Hill (!) and possibly adapted screenplay.

Wolf of Wall Street tells the more-or-less true story of disgraced stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who ran a pump and dump scheme in the 1990s to inflate the value of securities and sell them before the market got wise. He was indicted in 1998 on securities fraud, among other charges. 
After cooperating with the FBI, he served 22 months in a federal prison for his boiler room schemes, which resulted in investor losses of approximately $200 million.

Scorsese reportedly plays the material as comedy, which may be the best way to comment upon and perhaps ridicule the money-obsessed. Here's the second trailer:

Notice the trailer has the same jittery, machine-gun pacing as GoodFellas, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Scorsese's classic gangster film riffed on all the stylistic techniques pioneered by the Nouvelle Vague, then beat the French at their own game. Contemporary cinema could survive another blast of comparable exuberance. In the United States, only Scorsese (and maybe Quentin Tarantino) can convey the wild joy of making movies and telling stories of life lived on the edge through sheer bravado and consummate filmmaking skill.

As per my tradition with Scorsese films, I will be there for Wolf of Wall Street on opening night with a bag of roasted macadamias and a smile. Maybe two bags; the film clocks in a minute shy of three hours, making this Scorsese's longest picture after Casino.

Cinema Uprising copyright © 2013 by Steve Evans. All rights reserved.

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