The Wolf of Wall Street (R)

Drama 179 min. December 25, 2013
By Stephanie Zacharek
Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street is the kind of movie directors make when they wield money, power, and a not inconsiderable degree of arrogance. Sprawling and extravagant, it revels in all manner of excess; its antihero, the crooked high-flier Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), has a Dunhill wallet where his heart should be, and he can't stop flinging bills out of it. The movie guns for grandeur in the same way: There are hints of greatness, one or two scenes that remind you why you look forward to new Scorsese films in the first place. But as a highly detailed portrait of true-life corruption and bad behavior in the financial sector, Wolf of Wall Street is pushy and hollow, too much of a bad thing, like a three-hour cold call from the boiler room that leaves you wondering, "What have I just been sold?" DiCaprio's Jordan is the founder of a '90s-era investment firm. His cronies, among them Jonah Hill's perpetually dazed-looking Donnie Azoff, bilk ordinary folk out of millions, the better to finance mansions, yachts, and trophy wives -- plus hookers and drug habits. The Wolf of Wall Street halfheartedly follows a rags-to-riches-to-rags arc, though mostly it fixates on riches. Scorsese can't get a fix on the tone; the movie has the intentionally sour spirit of Goodfellas, but none of its grim humor. One hour of that boorishness would be more than enough, but by the end of the second you might be wondering if anyone -- including Scorsese — is ever going to call these guys on their self-absorbed idiocy. What, exactly, does he think of these people?
Martin Scorsese Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Kyle Chandler, Jean Dujardin, Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, Shea Whigham, Spike Jonze, John Berntal Jordan Belfort, Terence Winter Paramount Studios

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