The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

I don't like Wall Street movies in general. The high-pressure sales tactics rub me the wrong way and make me want to punch someone in the face with their manipulations. It is possible there are some lingering issues that I need to deal with from my brief stint selling cars at a terrible dealership with intense sales pressure. It's possible that my opinion of this particular movie is also tainted by an interview I read in Bloomberg Businessweek with the jerk who wrote the book and was the actual Wolf who is again a millionaire by selling his story and doing motivation speeches.

Leonardo DiCaprio headlines this journey into the stock selling hellscape. He does a good job as the sleazy, drunk, drug addict adulterer Wolf. Is he a tragic hero? A comedic hero? I don't know. I think they were trying to go with both of those, but I dislike the character so intently that I can't decide. The thing is - he's a well-written privileged ass. the devil-may-care way he lives his life is almost the way you wish life could be lived, but there are rules for a reason, and that - as you would expect - comes back to bite him. Leonardo plays him very well, and I think I have to stop disliking movies just because he's in them. A number of years ago, I discovered that Brad Pitt, even though I MUST hate him to his core, is actually a really good actor. So too must I admit that Leonardo is.

Jonah Hill got nominated for best supporting actor. Jared Leto beat him. I've seen both movies, and Jared did a fantastic job - no question there. But - for my money - Jonah did a better role as a supporting cast member. The fact is, Jared almost overwhelmed McConaughey's role in most of the scenes he was in. Jonah, however, manages to play his character very well while keeping the focus on the main character. I would never have thought of Jonah as a serious actor, but Holy Moses, he did a great job as the #1 underling at the crappy stocks factory.

Speaking of Matthew McConaughey, he is here for the briefest of glimpses. In fact, I could say the same for a number of supporting characters like Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, and Jon Favreau. Although, Rob steals every damn scene he's in - that guy still has some stage presence. So, Matthew is the first real boss on Wall Street that Leonardo gets mentored by. That whole phase doesn't last very long, but it's interesting to see Matthew in two of the movies that were nominated for an Oscar for 2013.

Someone who I hadn't heard much about before seeing the movie was the woman who plays Leonardo's second wife - Kyle Chandler. I don't know why there hasn't been more said or written about her. She was really good! Normally, you expect the really, really pretty women to have limited acting skills. I don't know why, but that is all too often the way it works out. Well, Kyle manages to peek out from under Leonardo's shadow in this movie the way no one else manages to. It's pretty impressive.

All told, this is a very good movie, and I hated it. I hate the fact that it's the true story of a guy who thinks so little of his victims that he had no respect for the common man or the common good before, and he has none now. That way, he can keep making money off of the same tactics that ruined many lives and I'm really wondering how much money he made off of this movie.

Directing was fantastic
Acting was spectacular
Cinematography was very good
Editing was very good
Story was annoying and entertaining
Dialog could have had less profanity

3.75/5

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