Thursday, 23 January 2014

Film: The Wolf of Wall Street

I'm not sure I've stepped foot in a cinema since Skyfall, and - despite all the incredible films that have been released in that time - I've always been content with catching them when they inevitably make their way onto Netflix, Lovefilm, or - more likely - Sky. Partly due to money, partly due to the (often perceived) lack of company.

Finally money and companions collided perfectly to form a Wednesday trip to 'The Wolf of Wall Street'. A film infamously based off (former) Wall Street Stockbroker Jordan Belfort's life. That of drugs, money, and sex; although apparently he intends it as a 'cautionary tale'. It's up for 5 Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill), and Best Adapted Screenplay) so I was expecting pretty big things from Scorsese's 180 minute epic. Incidentally Jonah Hill was apparently paid less than £35,000 for his 7 months filming, just for the chance to work with the director - shock horror, an actor paid a still-over-the-average-but-actually-reasonable wage.

Going into the screening with a rumbling stomach and a headache, and only armed with Pepsi and a bag of Lime Doritos, I was sceptical as to whether I would make it through. Not to worry, those three hours flew by. DiCaprio gives the performance that we've come to expect, which is absolutely flawless. He has an incredible ability to morph into pretty much anything. Allegedly he gave a similar performance in 'Catch Me If You Can' but I confess to never having seen it. A good portion of the film is taken up with Leonardo's motivational speeches to his troops, which are mesmerising - the change of pace from the onslaught of aforementioned sins definitely helps. Maybe, just maybe, this'll be the performance that gets him that ever elusive Oscar, although considering some of the competition maybe not.

Then there's Jonah Hill and his set of pearly white teeth. His drug fuelled performance isn't that far away from his some of his others, but this is a somewhat higher class piece of work - even if that higher class is probably thanks to Scorsese's hand. It's odd, because I'm not sure it's an Oscar-winning performance but it's certainly a good one. Possibly a chance of right place right time, and the film's overall quality helps him to shine.

The film itself is a whirl. The amount of onscreen nudity is actually rather astounding, coupled with the cussing. THE CUSSING! It's really rather magnificent. Short of warning people against the lifestyle I do agree with those who say it glamorises it. After all, it looks awesome. That said, the film's (quite obviously) got an 18 rating, and, after all, it's a movie - not a how-to guide. It's a pretty damn good movie at that, and it uses the word 'fuck' more than any film (that's not a documentary on the word) in cinematic history. Who doesn't want to see history? Plus it's the first film to be distributed entirely digitally. Welcome to the 21st century, cinema!

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