If it weren’t for sour-faced scolds like N.Y. Post critic Lou Lumenick, the Rotten Tomatoes rating for Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount, 12.25) would be in the 90s, which is certainly where the Best Film of the Year deserves to be. So far it’s at 89%, which is obviously fine but man, that Lumenick! He actually calls it “shapeless” — trust me, this is one of the fastest moving three-hour films in cinematic history — and “pointless.” Earth to Lou: when you get past the Belfort particulars it’s a portrait of the financially drunken orgy that American elites have been enjoying since the Reagan deregulations of the ’80s. In this context it’s probably fair to say that Wolf has a point.
Taken this morning by Jett Wells.
“A brazen three-hour cinematic bender of sex and drugs set to the tune of financial chaos, The Wolf of Wall Street is undoubtedly the craziest movie of Martin Scorsese’s career. With an untamed energy that dwarfs any of his crime dramas, Scorsese’s raucous, exhausting display is driven by an eager commitment to vulgarity. As stock market scammer Jordan Belfort, Leonardo DiCaprio’s unfettered ferocity meshes with Scorsese’s aim of exploring Belfort’s crafty early ’90s rise. Turning his memoir into a vivid portrait of the hedonistic excesses associated with unregulated wealth, The Wolf of Wall Street amps up an absurd volume of entertainment value.” — Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn.
A dynamic and exhilarating portrait of a modern day Rome (ala “Fellini Satyricon”) the feral “Wolf Of Wall Street” rages, pounds and throbs like a riotous maximalist having the time of its life at the greatest party ever staged. If one were to attempt to list out the most debauched and insane moments in the R-rated boundary-pushing picture, one could be here all day. One of the ballsiest and most extreme studio movies to come down the pike in recent years, Wolf seethes with a narcotic-induced fury [for what is] perhaps the most pleasurable and entertaining 140 minutes you’ll see all year.” — Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist.
“All the signs pointed to real-life stock-market story The Wolf of Wall Street being classic, old-school Martin Scorsese: drugs, swearing, big speeches, bigger performances, a spot of social critique and lashings of classic rock. But while many of these elements are present, something unexpected has snuck in alongside them: huge, unashamedly crowd-pleasing laughs. This is without doubt the funniest movie of Scorsese’s career. [It's a] modern tragedy as epic farce, reminding us just how much fun Scorsese can be when he’s in a playful mood.” — Tom Huddleston, Time Out.
“Here is a white-collar crime caper that stirs golden memories of the Scorsese back catalogue, often quite knowingly and sometimes to a fault. Watching it is like observing an old dog by the fireplace, kicking its legs against the blanket as it dreams of chasing rabbits in its youth. So many directors have built a career from ripping off Scorsese ; it’s hard to begrudge Scorsese wanting a piece of the pie. He gives us a film that is polished and punchy, chock-full of beans and throwing out sparks. He’s enjoying himself and the fun is infectious.” — The Guardian‘s Xan Brooks.