BY EMILY GAGNE AND ASHLEY KOWALEWSKI
Seeing as it was the most-anticipated movie of the season for both of them (not to mention near the three-hour mark!), Filles Emily and Ashley decided to tag-team review Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. As you’ll see, despite going in with sky-high expectations, both girls came out of the movie feeling like a million bucks, which is coincidentally around what the lead character, Wall Street phony Jordan Belfort, made per week at his excessive peak.
A: I’m sorry, but this guy can do no wrong. (NO WRONG!) If he doesn’t get nominated for his role as Jordan Belfort, I’m boycotting the Academy, or something like that. Leo’s performance was formidable. He was charismatically all over the place while being funny, crude and perfectly in tune with how I imagined the real Jordan Belfort to be. The Leo we’ve loved for an eternity was there in spades and played one of his best roles to date and they absolutely could not have picked a better actor to play Belfort. Even when he was mildly downtrodden from coming down from his high, he was still funny as hell (not to mention fiiiiiiiine) and if the last two years have been any indication of the direction his career is going, I can’t wait to see what’s next.
E: Although Leo has surely had some juicy roles over the past few, I don’t think he’s sunk his teeth into the with as overtly animalistic vigour as he did this one. Perhaps he took the “Wolf” concept a bit too seriously when formulating his image of Jordan, or maybe that’s just how the actual guy was (check out Ash’s Real-Life Relevance section for more on that), but it all works like one too many aged quaaludes. Speaking of which, dude seriously deserves a standing O for the scene where he’s forced to face the consequences of downing any obscene amount of said drugs, well, face down. As he literally crawls towards his car, the pathetic desperation of his character is spelled out clearer than ever, and you can’t help but both laugh and cringe.
A: Most movies take the “based on a true story” aspect a little loosely, but you’d be surprised to know how much of this flick was actually true. Considering how over-the-top everything is in The Wolf of Wall Street, the movie was fairly accurate to Jordan Belfort’s memoir of the same name. There were some parts that were left out of the flick (like Belfort’s stint in rehab) and others modified to make Belfort seem like less of a douche (he never actually buckles his daughter’s seatbelt before reversing out of his garage and throws his wife down the stairs prior to all that), but clocking in around three hours, you can see why they had to leave some things out.
What did bother me was the fact that they unnecessarily changed the names of some of the characters (Donnie Azoff was actually Danny Porush, Naomi actually Nadine, Aunt Emma actually Aunt Patricia, Skylar actually Chandler, etc.). That aside, the characters were pretty close to how Belfort portrays them in his memoir, and some of the scenes acted out almost verbatim (at least to how Belfort remembers them). They were even able to capture Belfort’s go-go-go way of depicting his drug-addled stupors that made his book so entertaining to read.
E: As much as we all enjoyed the campy creepiness of Shutter Island, we can admit that it’s really been a few years since Martin Scorsese settled the score like back in the day. (Sorry, kids, I did not care for Hugo in the slightest.) This flick marks the first time since the climax of his modern best, The Departed, he’s knocked the wind out of me in every aspect. The crisp visuals and costumes are arresting in contrast to the dirty deeds being committed in front of and in them. And the frenetic shooting technique, which alternates between reckless movements and Zack Morris-esque “Time out!” moments, captures the breathless nature with which Belfort came to live his life in his so-called “prime.”
Many people are comparing this film to his ’90s best, Goodfellas, and that’s a reasonable comparison given the plot similarities (young upstart works his way up in the biz with no care for who he steps on along the way!). But there’s a certain pizazz to Wolf that Goodfellas never quite had, and that’s both a sign of the times depicted in the move, as well as Scorsese’s immense growth as a modern director.
E: As much as Leo steals this movie as hammily as Belfort stole millions from rich, stupid people, you’ve got to give credit to the rest of the main cast for making the movie such an endless party. Jonah Hill chomps every inch of scenery in his role as Donnie, and not simply because he’s wearing the most ghastly white faux teeth you’ve ever seen. He plays off DiCaprio like they’re old pro bros too, particularly whenever their characters are getting high together (which is, following their first crack-smoking sequence, pretty damn often). And Margot Robbie is all sorts of smokin’ as Belfort’s trophy wife, Naomi, downing her vapid lines faster than DiCaprio does blow off her boobs.
A: Just as the real Jordan Belfort fed off his own cast of characters in life that made him so Wolf-like, Leo feeds off his fantastic supporting cast. As Em mentioned, Hill (and his glistening in-your-face veneers) shines in this flick, as do Robbie (new girl crush!) and even How I Met Your Mother‘s own “Mother,” Cristin Milioti, who plays Jordan’s ex-wife Teresa.
E: I could howl on all night about this Wolf, but I’d rather save my breath for running to the theatre so I can witness the glorious madness all over again.