Matthew Lickona 3 p.m., July 25
The Wolf of Wall Street
Martin Scorsese’s latest, most outrageous essay on common denominators living the life of upscale, drug-enhanced, and power-infested businessmen to the manner born. Set to the tune of the Master’s metronome camera moves, protagonist and unrepentant jerk Jordan Belfort’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) first day on the job in a strip-mall penny-stock shithole finds him delivering a master class on how to “sell garbage to garbage men.” The energy level in this scene and in Belfort’s hilarious third-act, time-released Quaalude crawl suggests the work of a director in his early 30s, not that of a man who just turned 71. Belfort is Scorsese’s ultimate surrogate auteur, an evangelical trafficker in power, preaching moxie to his ductile minions. But film remains a collaborative medium, and it would have been nice if screenwriter Terrence Winter hadn't written any scenes whose only purpose was to suck up to the director. Actor-wise, it’s Leo’s show, and the script calls for the actor to dominate every scene, leaving the supporting cast little to do but bounce off him. It's the weakest entry in Scorsese's cocaine trilogy - which began with Goodfellas and Casino - but running third in that company is no mean feat. 2013.
- "Law-school grad says Wolf of Wall Street character maligns him" • February 20, 2014
- Review: Scorsese’s fugazis • December 23, 2013