“Beautiful and Liberated”

Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street “is not just the funniest [film he’s] ever made but the first in which there is an authentic daring,” writes New Republic critic David Thomson in a 1.9.14 post. “The film is so much plainer than Casino or GoodFellas; the jukebox of hits fades in and out but doesn’t insist that we guzzle on its high-octane drive. The nerve-wracked Scorsese has made not just a comedy of situation and language, of dementia and stupidity, but even a physical farce. There is a sequence where Jordan Belfort, luded to the gills, has to get home from the country club in his white sports car. It is a slapstick tour de force that deserves to stand with Jerry Lewis and Laurel & Hardy. The Wolf of Wall Street is a transforming celebration of Leonardo DiCaprio that annihilates the lofty emptiness of The Great Gatsby.”

I love this portion: “DiCaprio has hinted before that comedy might be his natural calling — think of Catch Me If You Can — but his energy here is not just fun, it’s discovery. There is an Elmer Gantry in him that has been noticeable before, but who dreamed that he could build comedy scenes of such sustained inventiveness? We should petition the actor (and all possible directors) that never again must he be confined in films like Shutter Island, The Aviator, The Great Gatsby or J. Edgar. He has comic genius in him, and I hope in decades to come this will be treasured as a performance that shifted the gloomy overcast of American crime movies. Wake up, guys—if crime is our mainstream, why must it be noir?”

  • Steven Gaydos

    David Thomson has become possessed by the spirit of Jeffrey Lyons: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/113818/blue-jasmine-review-david-thomson

  • Marty Guerre

    Who’s lined up for the sequel, The Wolf of Sunset Boulevard?

  • Michael Gebert

    Yeah, I always thought Taxi Driver pussied out.

    • Brad

      Same with ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’.

  • Brian Bouton

    DiCaprio is awesome, and it’s about time for those who have envied his talent to put their hate aside and realize what an asset he is to just about any film. Hell, even as far back as “Titanic,” he and Winslet were the reason that three hours flew by so quickly.