Leonardo DiCaprio existed before Titanic (uh, the movie). I’m always surprised that people don’t remember this. The dude was on Growing Pains, for crying out loud. He’s spent twenty five years acting. He has more credits to his name than a lot of actors twice his age. He’s done comedy and drama, psychological thrillers and epics. He’s one of the few big-name actors I can still believe in any role. I don’t watch his movies thinking, “That’s Leonardo DiCaprio pretending to swim/fish/fight/whatever.” He embodies the characters he plays, enabling me to forget who he is long enough to believe the performance.
Do you get that I like him? That I have much admiration for his skill? That I think he’s just swell? Good. Because it wouldn’t be right to completely trash this movie if I didn’t mention that first.
The Wolf of Wall Street (AKA The Longest Movie Ever Made) was difficult to watch–primarily because I spent half of it wondering when the credits would finally roll. I think anyone who writes a great deal gets to a point where they edit automatically. They examine everything with a critical eye. Dialogue is dissected for relevance. Every scene is considered for effectiveness. Performances are weighed based on facial expressions, tone of voice, body language.
Performances here were great. Mr. DiCaprio knows how to act and he didn’t fail here. Jonah Hill nailed the creepy/funny supporting role, and Matthew McConaughey was…well, Matthew McConaughey. That might be the last nice thing I have to say here.
Many, many scenes could have either been cut or trimmed. With a machete. I understand character-building. I get that every fictional world needs a firm sense of environment. I’d never argue that. This film, however, went much too far. It’s like the director thought that two hours into this, I still hadn’t comprehended how disgusting these people had become.
When I watch a movie I’ve been looking forward to, I settle in. I get snacks, a drink, and kick my feet on the couch because I have no intention of getting up until it’s over. With The Wolf of Wall Street, I found myself wandering around the house, using BS excuses to leave the room. Honestly, I can’t tell you how long this movie was, only that I was ready for it to be over long before it was.
The worst part is that, with proper editing, this could have been fantastic. The hook was good. From the commercials, I knew this was my kind of movie. It’s suits displaying their jackass-ishness for the world to see! It’s Leonardo Di-freaking-Caprio! It’s fun! It’s funny!
And it was. About half the time. The other half I felt like I was being beat over the head with points already made. As if the director looked at the script pre-production and decided this could make an epic movie…if they strung it out long enough.
My opinion? It would have been better if they hadn’t.