“The Wolf of Wall Street” will hook you just like Jordan Belfort was hooked on the high of selling stocks to desperate people and drugs and alcohol.
But Martin Scorsese’s film with screenwriter Terence Winter (“The Sopranos”) is a little difficult to stay focused on after hour number two.
The length of the film (three hours in all) is its main downfall.
Leonardo DiCaprio is the lead as Belfort, a stockbroker coming up in New York in the 1980s and 1990s with his own firm serving as a hub of investment fraud.
Scorsese and Winter’s telling of the story focuses on Belfort’s rise up and his demise sought by FBI agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler.)
The visuals and script, filled with monologues and motivational speeches by DiCaprio, are enticing but again a bit much after the two-hour mark.
Many of the scenes that showcase Belfort’s lifestyle and addictions could have been cut or transformed to further reveal the man behind the suit — that is if there is more to him than the need for money and his ability to take advantage of anyone to keep it intact.
Either way DiCaprio’s perfection as Belfort is not marred by the fact that there are one too many scenes allowing (or at times forcing) the viewer to peek into his greed.
The performance actually reminded me of DiCaprio’s role as Jay Gatsby in “The Great Gatsby” earlier this year. Both characters are the focus of the films and present monologues for the viewer to take in and decipher.
Overall I wouldn’t let knowing the length of “The Wolf of Wall Street” deter you from seeing the film, especially if you’re a regular Scorsese or DiCaprio fan.
I am glad I stayed through the film (some people in the theater did not) but I am also curious why Scorsese made it his longest feature to date.
Maybe it was just to give DiCaprio the screen time he clearly excels at when developing a character or to top some of his other lengthy films (“The Aviator” or “Casino.”)
The end result for critics and DiCaprio fans to watch for is if he will earn the accolade of an Oscar in 2014. He’s already nominated for a Golden Globe, which could be one ticket to a win at the big show.
It’s fun to watch the race, especially with the sense that DiCaprio isn’t as much in tune to it as his fans and critics.
I hope he wins for his performance as Belfort, his library of work, and for the opportunity to see DiCaprio in the role as himself giving an acceptance speech.
The Oscars are not on until March 2, which leaves more time to see the work of the nominees.
There are certainly plenty of titles from 2013 to check out if you should want to ring in (and recover from Dec. 31) the new year on the couch.