Rivetting, it was…The Wolf of Wall Street. The opening scene where they use dwarfs as darts, shocks. But the scenes depicting Jordan’s debauchery – whether money, drugs or sex – they were overlong –the audience may have retained stronger impressions of shorter scenes. Apparently, Thelma Schoonmaker, the editor has been with Scorcese for 50 years. Clearly, their creative vision is still in consonance, but seriously…2 hours and 15 minutes was fine for this, with better effect perhaps.
I however loved Leonardo’s ‘motivational’ scenes in his Stratton Oakmont office. He unashamedly excites greed in people and his whole gang of 100 or 200 employees gets as obsessed as him, scruples be damned! And they get down to the murky business of making money anyhow – calling, abusing, bulldozing people into buying. The F word flies thick and fast ( do Wall Street people really talk like that all the time?).
Barring the length of the film, it is a signature Scorcese delight. Those who loved Aviator, will love this too. There’s a classical hero ( or anti-hero) and the story is all about him – no sub plots. The story holds you, as does the dialogue.
Leonardo has done a fair amount of soliloquys in the film –rendered perfectly. And the ease with which he does just about anything before a camera – you can just watch and ‘hate his guts’ like his wife in the film did. The wife played by Margot Robbie is a gorgeous Barbie doll, and there’s also the handsome Mathew McNaughey ( gone really thin, alas!)who indoctrinates the young and ambitious Jordan. And there’s the guy who played his father (don’t know who) – there’s a scene where father and son discuss women , purely as sex objects, with absolute objectivity and aplomb. You simply can’t dismiss the guy as a lecher, he’s an unapologetic sex addict. Also a scary reminder of how money-power can make your sins look not so sinful.
The grand locations do justice to this stock market con saga, vaguely reminiscent of the ‘white telephone’ films of yore ( where the white telephone was a symbol of prosperity and so on; a good example of an Indian white telephone film would be Kal, Aaj aur Kal). And the action sequence in the sea was spectacular.
The Wolf… has been called a delirious black comedy in some reviews. I am inclined, however, to agree with Scorcese when he says that ‘it doesn’t really matter’ what you classify the film as. It is a story, and he narrated it like Homer would.