Film Review: ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’

wolf of wall street

Old-school Scorsese style and an unhinged Leonardo DiCaprio juice a cynical tale of Wall Street bad boys behaving badly.

Even Gordon Gekko looks like a veritable lap dog compared to Jordan Belfort, the self-proclaimed “Wolf of Wall Street” whose coked-up, pill-popping, high-rolling shenanigans made him a multi-millionaire at age 26, a convicted felon a decade later, and a bestselling author and motivational speaker a decade after that. Now, Belfort’s riches-to-slightly-less-riches tale has been brought to the screen by no less a connoisseur of charismatic sociopaths than Martin Scorsese, and the result is a big, unruly bacchanal of a movie that huffs and puffs and nearly blows its own house down, but holds together by sheer virtue of its furious filmmaking energy and a Leonardo DiCaprio star turn so electric it could wake the dead.

Arriving six weeks past its original November release date and still showing signs of editing-room haste, “Wolf” should ride a high want-to-see factor and generally admiring reviews to solid holiday B.O., though its length and extreme content may keep the reportedly $100 million production from reaching the rarefied aerie of “The Departed” ($289 million worldwide) and “Shutter Island” ($294 million worldwide).

After going unexpectedly kid-friendly for 2011’s “Hugo” (his first PG movie in two decades), Scorsese could hardly have followed with a more dramatic about-face than “Wolf,” which skirts the very outer limits of the R rating with its nonstop barrage of drug-fueled decadence, all put across with a sinister smile. In the first reel alone, which aptly sets the tone for what’s to come, Belfort (DiCaprio) can be seen snorting coke off a prostitute’s backside, getting fellated while driving his white Ferrari, and nearly crashing his private helicopter while high on a homemade cocktail of Quaaludes, Xanax and morphine (the last one “because it’s awesome”). If some of the advance hype suggested that “Wolf” was going to be a kind of “Goodfellas” on Wall Street, in reality it’s more like the jittery, paranoid third act of that movie stretched out to three hours, starting at a fever pitch and heading toward the nuclear.

In the prologue to “Wolf,” the first of two volumes of memoirs, Belfort wrote that he hoped his story would serve as “a cautionary tale to the rich and poor alike,” though there was little in the 500 pages that followed (or in the cover line, “I partied like a rock star, lived like a king”) that suggested contrition. Nor have Scorsese and screenwriter Terence Winter brought any retroactive moralizing to bear on the material. Rather, they take Belfort on his own questionable terms, seeking to reproduce the atmosphere of crazed, alpha-male intensity that engulfed the trading floor at Stratton Oakmont, the Belfort-founded brokerage house which, in “Wolf,” comes to resemble a Boschian Rome before the fall. It is the sort of office where a bathroom placard kindly reminds everyone not to engage in intercourse on the premises during office hours — right where the “Employees Must Wash Hands” sign usually goes.

The movie begins in medias res, with Belfort and his devoted minions blowing off steam in an office dwarf-tossing competition, before flashing back to give us a brief glimpse of the young and relatively innocent Jordan, who arrives on Wall Street in the fall of 1987 as a “connector” — basically a glorified phone dialer — for the old-money trading firm of L.F. Rothschild. It’s there that the eager rookie gets his first sense of the wild life to come when a mad-hatter senior broker (Matthew McConaughey) takes him out for a three-martini lunch that also includes enough white powder for a killer day at Big Bear. And even though he’s no longer quite boyish enough to play someone in his early 20s, DiCaprio is convincingly green here, like a wide-eyed Candide lunching with McConaughey’s debauched Dr. Pangloss.

But no sooner has Jordan settled in than Black Monday arrives and the bottom falls out, of the market and L.F. Rothschild, sending him back to the help-wanted ads at a time when nobody seems to be looking for stockbrokers. Nobody, that is, save for a storefront brokerage in a Long Island strip mall, where the slovenly staff unloads worthless penny stocks on cold-called clients for 50% commissions, and where Belfort sticks out like a Savile Row suit on a Kmart clearance rack. But the genial proprietor (an uncredited Spike Jonze) agrees to give him a shot, not quite realizing he’s just let a wolf in the door.

It isn’t long before Belfort branches out on his own, starting the tony-sounding Stratton Oakmont in a declasse former gas station, resolving to go from “selling garbage to garbagemen” to targeting the deep-pocketed one percent. He assembles a merry band of brokers comprised of petty thugs, drug dealers and high-school dropouts who, when trained in Belfort’s precision-scripted tactics, prove to be remarkably effective salesmen. Riding herd on them all is Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), a buffoonish caricature of a Jew in WASP Land, decked out in garish bleached teeth, clear-lens horn-rims and a sweater tied ever so carefully around his neck. (Belfort’s own Jewishness and WASP aspirations, a running theme in the book, have been omitted from the film.) After offering his services to Belfort out of the blue in a local diner, Donnie becomes the Wolf’s most trusted associate, and it’s Hill who gives the movie’s most flamboyant (if slightly one-note) comic performance, unzipping his schlong, swallowing a live goldfish, and otherwise boldly exploring the gray area between mankind and our nearest relatives on the evolutionary scale.

Clocking in at 179 minutes, “Wolf” sets a record as Scorsese’s longest fiction film (one minute longer than “Casino”), but that doesn’t make it his most ambitious or deeply felt. It lacks the dynamic emotional range of a “Mean Streets” or “Goodfellas,” or the intricate plotting of a “Casino,” and for all its amusing guest stars (Rob Reiner as Belfort’s combustible dad, Jean Dujardin as a pompous Swiss banker) and caper-like episodes, almost everything unfolds in the same manic register. Even when the movie is really cooking (which is often), there’s a feeling that scenes are being held for a few beats too many, that Scorsese and his ace editor Thelma Schoonmaker simply didn’t have enough time to do the elegant fine-tuning they’re accustomed to (an impression reinforced by several conspicuous continuity gaffes and badly matched cuts throughout the film).

Still, considering how familiar this milieu of fast-talking, hard-selling hucksters is from the likes of “Wall Street,” “American Psycho,” “Boiler Room” (which was also inspired by the Belfort case) and “Glengarry Glen Ross,” it’s surprising how lively Scorsese manages to keep things throughout. In terms of style, the movie is almost self-consciously Scorsesean — even more than “The Departed” — with d.p. Rodrigo Prieto’s camera tracking elaborately, freeze-framing, dollying in fast and whip-panning even faster, while a quadruple album’s worth of classic rock and blues fill up the soundtrack (veteran Scorsese collaborator Robbie Robertson more than earns his “executive music producer” credit) alongside DiCaprio’s running first-person narration. This is very much iconic, old-school Scorsese in full bloom, but what’s missing is the marvelous empathy the filmmaker managed to conjure for even those films’ most reprehensible characters — the sense that this former seminarian could see the good and ill in the souls of troubled men, even finding some kind of tormented nobility in the psychopath Travis Bickle.

In “Wolf,” that empathy has been replaced by an overarching cynicism — cynicism for the swindlers who do the swindling and the schmucks who get snookered, cynicism for the empty allure of the good life, and cynicism for a system that allows for so many clean getaways. (Belfort’s nominal downfall notwithstanding, those wishing to see the character get his real comeuppance will still be waiting after the end credits have rolled and the lights have come back up.) Make no mistake: “Wolf” is as much a gangster movie as any Scorsese has made, with Belfort as a Bill the Butcher who slices and dices people’s bank accounts, a Nicky Santoro who puts your savings in a vise. But on some basic level, he’s a cipher whose drug-fueled binges regularly put others (including, in one harrowing scene, his own young daughter) in harm’s way, and who thinks nothing of recruiting his wife’s British aunt (an excellent Joanna Lumley) as a front — or, in the movie’s distinctive patois, “rathole” — for his offshore accounts. As dramatis personae go, Belfort lacks a tragic dimension: This latter-day Gatsby stares out from his own extravagant Long Island enclave and sees only a blinking green dollar sign.

But a talented performer can do much to camouflage such shortcomings, and that’s precisely what DiCaprio does here. A reliably good actor who too often shows you all the hard, technical work he’s put into creating a character, the DiCaprio of “Wolf” seems loose and uninhibited and freed of premeditated mannerisms. In his fifth collaboration with Scorsese, he’s a constant joy to watch, whether crawling across the floor like a baby while his bombshell second wife (appealing Australian newcomer Margot Robbie, who deserves more screen time) engages in a particularly cruel form of cock-blocking, or rallying his disciples with an impassioned variation on Gekko’s “Greed Is Good” speech. DiCaprio doesn’t just play this part; he inhales it, along with everything else that goes up Belfort’s nose and into his bloodstream.

For anything resembling gravitas, though, one must instead look to the dogged FBI agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler), who sets Belfort in his sights early on and gradually closes in. In one of the movie’s best scenes, a cocksure Jordan goes so far as to invite the G-man on to his yacht and comes within a hairsbreadth of bribing him. And Chandler, who projects the effortless, middle-class virtue of a 1950s leading man (a Robert Stack type), plays the scene with a wonderfully sly poker face, leading Belfort the egomaniac to believe he’s actually buying what he’s selling. But the sting of “Wolf” comes in Denham’s realization that, while he may have gotten his man, it’s Belfort who may well have the last laugh.

Moments like those keep “Wolf” buoyant and lithe in spite of its redundancies and excesses. But if there’s one scene here that is sure to end up in future Scorsese career-achievement montages, it’s the epic drugged-out setpiece in which Jordan and Donnie experience a delayed reaction to decades-old Quaaludes, obliterating their motor skills and culminating in an explosively funny battle for control of a kitchen telephone. This live-action variation on the old Looney Tunes cartoon in which Bugs Bunny and the mad scientist get high on ether fumes reveals heretofore unknown reserves of physical comedy in DiCaprio. But more than being just a great gag, it’s a representative image: Call it infantile capitalism.

Despite its high price tag, the pic’s physical production is more modestly scaled than the likes of “The Aviator,” “Gangs of New York” and “Hugo,” save for one elaborate, CG-intensive sequence in which Belfort’s yacht nearly capsizes in a violent Mediterranean storm. Otherwise, most of the movie is confined to trading floors, boardrooms and suburban McMansions, rendered by Prieto and production designer Bob Shaw (“Boardwalk Empire,” “The Sopranos”) with the bright, Windexed sheen of strip-mall, office-park America. The redoubtable costume designer Sandy Powell has everyone looking suitably snazzy, in keeping with Stratton Oakmont’s policy of inhouse custom tailoring for its employees.

Film Review: 'The Wolf of Wall Street'

Reviewed at Paramount screening room, New York, Dec. 6, 2013. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 179 MIN.

Production

A Paramount release presented with Red Granite Pictures of an Appian Way/Sikelia/Emjag production. Produced by Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland, Emma Koskoff. Co-producers, Adam Somner, Richard Baratta, Ted Griffin. Executive producers, Georgia Kacandes, Alexandra Milchan, Rick Yorn, Irwin Winkler, Danny Dimbort, Joel Gotler.

Crew

Directed by Martin Scorsese. Screenplay, Terence Winter, based on the book by Jordan Belfort. Camera (Deluxe color, widescreen, 35mm/Arri Alexa HD), Rodrigo Prieto; editor, Thelma Schoonmaker; executive music producer, Robbie Robertson; music supervisor, Randall Poster; production designer, Bob Shaw; art director, Chris Shriver; set decorator, Ellen Christiansen; costume designer, Sandy Powell; sound (Dolby Digital), James Sabat; supervising sound editors, Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty; re-recording mixer, Tom Fleischman; visual effects supervisor, Robert Legato; visual effects producer, Mark Russell; visual effects, Scanline VFX, Method Studios, Brainstorm Digital, Crazy Horse East, Lola VFX, special effects supervisor, Drew Jiritano; stunt coordinators, Blaise Corrigan, George Aguilar; associate producer, Marianne Bower; assistant director, Adam Somner; second unit director/camera, Robert Legato; casting, Ellen Lewis.

With

Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Rob Reiner, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley, Cristin Milioti, Christine Ebersole, Shea Whigham, Katarina Cas, P.J. Byrne, Kenneth Choi, Brian Sacca, Henry Zebrowski, Ethan Suplee.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 35

Leave a Reply

35 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. anne embergue says:

    I loved the movie, the acting is amazing Dicaprio, he can really get into character. I hope he wins the Oscar, is really deserved.

  2. Bullseye says:

    I hated it, bored tired Scorsese.

  3. Bee says:

    For future reference:
    Actors of fully Jewish background: -Logan Lerman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mila Kunis, Natalie Portman, Bar Refaeli, James Wolk, Julian Morris, Esti Ginzburg, Kat Dennings, Erin Heatherton, Odeya Rush, Anton Yelchin, Paul Rudd, Scott Mechlowicz, Andrew Garfield, Lizzy Caplan, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Gal Gadot, Robert Kazinsky, Melanie Laurent, Marla Sokoloff, Shiri Appleby, Justin Bartha, Adam Brody, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Gabriel Macht.

    Actors with Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers -Jake Gyllenhaal, James Franco, Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Radcliffe, Alison Brie, Eva Green, Emmy Rossum, Jennifer Connelly, Eric Dane, Jeremy Jordan.

    Actors with Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers, who themselves were either raised as Jews and/or identify as Jews: -Ezra Miller, Alexa Davalos, Nat Wolff, James Maslow, Josh Bowman, Ben Foster, Nikki Reed, Ansel Elgort.

    Actors with one Jewish-born parent and one parent who converted to Judaism -Dianna Agron, Sara Paxton (whose father converted, not her mother), Alicia Silverstone, Jamie-Lynn Sigler.

  4. Carl White says:


    This was a very entertaining but ultimately very disappointing mess of a film. Somewhere in this mess is a great film, you can feel it, but Mr Scorsese seems to have put the pieces of the puzzle in all the wrong places.
    It almost feels like he was trying too hard to entertain and forgot to simply tell the story. Slow down Scorsese, just take your time and tell the story next time.
    I would still recommend you see it but the whole is much less than the sum of its parts.

  5. MaceyJ says:

    Loved the performance…Loved the movie..Arguably the top 5 movies of 2013 for me. I don’t get why people are hatin on the movie…Pure entertainment with a hint of emotion… bit.ly/WolfofWallStreetReview

  6. This terrible movie was like watching 5 beer commercials repeated for 3 hours (that seemed like 6 hours): superficial, boring, unfunny, misogynistic frat boy humor with no character or thematic development. It was a torturous waste of time.

  7. looking forward to reviewing this as it has similarities to the thomas bruderman / fidelity bachelor party of 2003 in miami beach complete with dwarf-tossing!

  8. Sapi mann says:

    Loved Leo’s over the top performance, don’t always, but shame on Martin Scorsese for not editing this film! It was way too long, incorporated too many drug fueled scenes that were, yes redundant, turned into the perfect storm. No reason that should have been in and taken up so many minutes with no real consequence. It seemed amateur filmmaking from a first time try. It was just brutal to think it was ending over and over, and he kept trying to wring the neck out of Leo’s character til we, the audience wanted to strangle this overindulgent brat director for never ever ending the inevitable. Never, ever should have been three hours.

  9. Ellen Janois says:

    Just returned from seeing this & it was too long, too repetitive & all over the map. Don’t bother.

  10. montefuego says:

    A very well written and insightful review. Thank you

  11. have not seen worse do not waste your money says:

    This movie stinks it long repetitive graphic and lacks any plot other sex and steeling from the common man. It could not be a worse movie to see on Christmas

  12. Julian says:

    It’s Mad Men on crack. And it’s pretty spectacular.

    A wild ride, glossing over the bad, with a soft landing and painless exit. Classic Wall Street…

    I thought it hit the mark exactly.

  13. The last few Scorsese pics left me a little disappointed. I had begun to think Marty had become a ‘gun for hire’ and that his brilliance may have been spent (his earlier works were some of the best movies ever made). I attended a screening of The Wolf of Wall Street this evening, and was expecting to be unimpressed. I am happy to say I was completely blown away. This pic is Marty at his best. I laughed, I cringed, I related (with fond memories as well as a bit of guilt) and I TOTALLY believed every unbelievable moment. A good book, a great screenplay and a delightful cast were formed and molded into what I believe should get Scorsese a best director Oscar, and likely a Best Picture Award for the movie. Leo DiCaprio has grown into a versatile actor and his creation of this super hero dirtbag’s roller coaster ride in this crazy (true) story is really honest and delightfully entertaining. Jonah Hill pulled out all the stops too and this is definitely his best work. Thank you Mr. Scorsese for delivering the goods so brilliantly!

    More about the movie you can also find it here
    http://movieinfodb.com/en/movie/106646/The+Wolf+of+Wall+Street-2013

  14. We have the first ministries in the US to support the families of persons accused or convicted of white-collar and other nonviolent crimes. As see it, the biggest tragedy of all about white-collar and nonviolent crime is not how big the matter is, or sensationalized the headlines – it is in our failure to see it as a human story, with real people, real brokenness, and real families left behind. I went to prison for a white-collar crime myself, so I am especially concerned that this movie does nothing to help.

    Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div
    Director, Progressive Prison Project/ Innocent Spouse & Children Project
    Christ Church Greenwich
    254 East Putnam Avenue
    Greenwich, Connecticut 06830 USA

    Assoc. Minister /
    Director of Prison Ministries
    First Baptist Church of Bridgeport
    126 Washington Avenue, 1st Fl.
    Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604
    progressiveprisonproject.org

  15. ITTTY IT says:

    The creaatively bankrupt Scorsese
    wasting our time with a turn in Stone’s
    done to death litter box?

    STEER CLEAR!

  16. nate says:

    Wow. Not one interesting comment made so far here. Just a bunch of mindless raving lunatics. Go watch a Hallmark Channel movie and leave the real films to the adults.

  17. Josh says:

    What letter grade did you give it? Don’t make me read the whole thing. ugh

  18. Andrew says:

    Reblogged this on Andrew J. Patrick and commented:
    This actually looks interesting…

  19. Samuel Bowles says:

    Mr. Foundas,
    The idea that the film has “several conspicuous continuity gaffes and badly matched cuts throughout the film” because Scorsese and Schoonmaker were working too quickly is ridiculous. Scorsese is known for favouring emotion over continuity when editing. It’s simple: he doesn’t care if shots don’t perfectly match if he feels the cut is right. These “errors” feature throughout his work and, this may sound a little harsh, but the ‘Chief Film Critic’ for Variety being unaware of this basic facet of America’s most acclaimed mainstream modern filmmaker is somewhat alarming.
    Peace.

  20. Just finished the book last week, It’s 500 pages of hedonism, infidelity, crime, drug abuse in the extreme and more crime…But, it is a fantastic read and Belfort, while being a sort of nudge with short-man syndrome is a likable guy..Marty will do it justice as he is one of the great directors…I lived and worked through the 80’s/90’s and had a couple girlfriends in brokerage houses….THIS GUY PUTS THEM ALL TO SHAME! : )…Guaranteed to like the movie, if you don’t mind watching someone else self destruct, sort of…: )

  21. The star of this film squeaks and scolds Americans for driving, while he jets off to his private island off Belize ‘to save the planet’. Tedious. Very tedious.

    The director makes yet another film about lowlife criminals who always end up on their feet while the American people end up footing the bill for their larcenous behavior.

    Why would anyone waste time and money watching a film about yet another pack of thugs who’ve cost us our wealth and liberty? There’s too many decent, hard working people in the financial industry who’ll never be glorified like this because they’re decent, because they benefit us.

    Nope, we get to watch lowlives doing what they do, and the money we pay for the privilege of watching these spoiled brats of the big screen is in turn handed to left wing politicians and subversive causes which cost us yet more liberty and wealth. Forget it.

    Why feed the beast?

  22. zeus says:

    It is absolutely amazing how full of themselves these turds can get by doing a movie- yea god said unto marting and leodildo ‘This is capatalism ergo Reupbiclanism and see all the graft, they are but worthless lives and souls- … Left wing sez- all capitalists are like that, yet all of them are being reprieved because Jomama needs ‘special friends’ to help sell his turd laws on review and he can’t do it himself.. The feces hits windgenerator kindasorta like what happened in Russia in 1917-1920 your ‘acting skills will be about as long as a 7.62X39’ shell casing and as useful as it will be empty.
    The real story is not so flashy and funny- How many people lost their savings, are you going to glorify Madoff too?That guy might be getting sold for smokes by now and BigNasty;s love tang… Read how nice it is to screw people out of their money. But, having grown up in Brentwood Park in the 70’s and attended private school im the valley, Ronald Reagam, Gregory Peck, Burt Lancaster, Charlton HestonPat O’Brien, James GArner, Steve McQeen and countless other Enigmatic Members of the Hollywood Dream would dare not touch this drivel as it is lacking any social graces, John Watters might do a spoof but maybe Devine would turn down the role too- You are going to dark places and when the bubble bursts and the debt comes do- I dont think Jomama is gonna give you a free ride to James the socket Camerons place….There is far more valuable content in Pink Flamingos or A Clockwork Orange- And when you are a Disabled Vet you all seem to want to assist, talk to your cronies and take a look at how much the Social Depending folks who keep having kids get for a raise likened to those of 100% SC Disabled Vets, about 20-1 over the past five years, and I can’t get me no OTrauma fone-
    nor would I take if for what it stands for- you all suck farts out of dead goats or I can think of a few things John Watters envisioned that i would like to see you do with Ms. Edie and the Egg Man. Yeah, it has been a lousy day

    • NHBill says:

      This review was picked up by the Drudge Report in case anyone was wondering which rock this guy slithered out from under.

      • James says:

        Which rock? One of the over 10 billion hits in the last one year, or one of the 29 million in the last 24 hours? There are a good number of “rock slither” people out there and most of the are getting fed up with the nonsense.

  23. King Babalou says:

    Good lord, this review was longer than the movie

  24. Leon A Davis says:

    Has anyone stopped to think what people in other countries must be thinking about America when movies like this hit their theaters? After see a dozen movies like this, will they have a higher opinion of America or a lower opinion? Now one might say it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks about the US because its the lone superpower calling all the shots in the world. Okay, maybe so. But what happens when Bush or Obama sends an army to a country and says, “because America is a superior culture, we know how to run your affairs better than you do so stand aside because we’re taking over.” That was Bush’s reason for invading Iraq and Hillary’s reason for the Arab Spring in Syria and Egypt and Obama’s rationale for whacking out Colonel Gaddafi. It’s just something to think about, that’s all…

    • Bill Williams says:

      Leon, imagine what the world would be like if China, Argentina or, God forbid, Belgium was the world’s strongest and richest nation. Yuck.

    • Lola Guin says:

      @Leon A Davis- I completely agree with you concerning our country’s incessant desire to police the world. I take issue with it too. However, I couldn’t care less what other countries think of us. A lion does not concern itself with the opinions of the mouse. America is the most powerful country on the planet and we’re hated for it. We the people, who don’t make major policy decisions are hated for it. I protested Bush and his failed wars and now I’m protesting Obama and his even more destructive policies. Foreigners still hate Americans. So, for me, personally, I’m not really affected by their opinions as they have no effect on me. I am in total agreement about our foreign policy though. Our men and women belong at home, protecting our borders from the current invasion, not thousands of miles away in some desert hell-hole guarding opium poppy fields and lithium deposits. That serves someone’s interests, but those interests certainly don’t belong to the American people, yet we’re stuck footing the bill. I care about that, but not about the opinions of people who don’t live here.

  25. LOL says:

    Honestly, Scorsese since the beginning of this decade has been a serious let-down. He needs to stop making these $100 million bloated movies that play to Academy darlings, and either go small and focussed, or simply retire. The last proper Scorsese picture was Brining out the Dead, and even that needed better dramatic clarity.

    This movie looks like a freewheeling Scorsese by numbers movie that could’ve been made by others keen on mimicking his style. That is the ultimate problem: younger filmmakers, weaned on his films, have come along and can match his cinematic flair, sometimes even better than the master himself can nowadays. His heart’s not in it. He said so himself.

    Nonetheless, American cinema will be a crapper place without him.

    • zeus says:

      it isn’ too far from the urinal right now! bloated portraits at how stupid we are so the darling little fascists can show their faces. diletti inhumani- wait till your grandkids are left with the plans and policies in place- start reading the Congressional Rags, all of you living on cheap insurance in flood fire and disaster prone areas are gonig to get a pretty rude kick in the arse when you see what happens to the Govt subsidized disaster insurance see the following FEMA gov site all you Malibu, Temescal Canyon, Palisades and smell the coffee the rates for some of you will be…They have a workup shee so you can see for yourself the 40K + rate you are going to get and it only gets worse year after year or another disaster you may have a bond the bank wont cover even you big stars, I have noticed the big movies last a few weeks and then are no longer aspecial engagement but at a theatre near you or already turned over to DVD and Netflix

      • erwin says:

        i could not have said it any better. in the days when scorcese and deniro made a movie every other year or so, i looked forward to them eagerly and was rarely disappointed. casino was the first false note i can recall, but it was not terrible – just highly flawed. departed was entertaining (when nicholson was on screen at least), but fell apart toward the end. since then, scorcese’s movies strike me as little better than very expensive mtv long form videos. and of course, deniro destroyed his reputation 15 years ago or more

  26. J.E.Vizzusi says:

    More white powder than Black Bear, the East Coasters will have to look that one up! Christmas, I’m not thinking about a MS Film although I fall into the perfect demographics. Longest review I have ever read on Variety, a sorta bio-pic upon itself. Leo is never quite right for the jump cut mentality of this most honored NYC Director. Hopefully that will change here. I look forward very much to a return of a true MS Directed Film we all once knew. Note: Spike Jonz is credited on IMDB. Great Review.. jv

  27. J says:

    Interesting point about the continuity issues, but your conclusion regarding them may be incorrect. A lot of Scorsese’s acclaimed films (like Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, or The Departed) are riddled with obvious continuity errors. It’s no secret that Scorsese and Schoonmaker openly opt for the proper emotion/energy in a take over continuity.

More Film News from Variety

Loading