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The Wolf of Wall Street - Early reviews positive

The Wolf of Wall Street

Story by Jack Foley

THE first reviews of Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street are in – and they’re mostly positive.

The Guardian’s Xan Brooks leads the fanfare of approval by stating that the three hour Wall Street epic, based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, “is Scorsese with fire in his belly and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Walmart Gordon Gekko cranking up the laughs – a pantomime Goodfellas“.

He writes: “The Wolf of Wall Street, praise be, is the director’s most exuberant and exciting picture in years – certainly since The Departed, possibly since Casino. Here is a white-collar crime caper that stirs golden memories of the Scorsese back catalogue, often quite knowingly and sometimes to a fault.”

Describing DiCaprio’s performance as cranked up to the volume of 10, he goes on to write that Scorsese has given “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”. Read more

Similarly impressed is The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy, who opined: “At nearly three hours of pushing the R rating, Martin Scorsese’s film leaves no storytelling trick unused while watching Jordan Belfort embrace Wall Street’s cutthroat ethos.”

McCarthy singles out both DiCaprio and co-star Jonah Hill for praise, writing of the former: “This is undoubtedly DiCaprio’s largest and best screen performance, one in which he lets loose as he never has before, is not protective of vanity or a sense of cool and, one feels, gets completely to the bottom of his character. Caution was not an option with this characterization; the word does not exist for the actor or the character.”

Of Hill, he adds: “Hill is not (just) comic relief here but a credible, if weird, figure, an eager young man perennially keen to prove to his boss that he’s willing not only to embrace but exceed his high standards of waywardness. The actor’s timing is terrific and he keeps offering surprises and nuances to the end.”

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And Scott Foundas, of Variety, wrote that The Wolf of Wall Street is “a big, unruly bacchanal of a movie that huffs and puffs and nearly blows its own house down, but holds together by sheer virtue of its furious filmmaking energy and a Leonardo DiCaprio star turn so electric it could wake the dead”.

Foundas does find fault with the movie’s lack of gravitas, noting that “it lacks the dynamic emotional range of a Mean Streets or Goodfellas, or the intricate plotting of a Casino“, but he credits the director with managing to keep things lively throughout, adding that “this is very much iconic, old-school Scorsese in full bloom”.

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Screen International, meanwhile, wrote: “Goodfellas without the guns, The Wolf Of Wall Street finds director Martin Scorsese once again essaying an epic on American corruption, except this time it’s in the land of stockbrokers instead of mobsters.”

It adds: “The Wolf Of Wall Street feels like a rehash of one of Scorsese’s favourite themes — people’s willingness to embrace crime to attain the American dream — but here there’s more anger and ambiguity in the telling.”

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The Wolf of Wall Street opens in UK cinemas on January 17, 2014.

Next story: First reviews in for Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac