Give director Martin Scorsese credit – even when he's not at his best, he is still very interesting.
That's the case with his latest film, "The Wolf of Wall Street," a helter-skelter piece of work that is sure to leave some people cold. It isn't among Scorsese's greatest work, but it still has enough going for it that it deserves a look.
"Wolf" is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a Long Island penny stockbroker who rose to fame only to become entangled in widespread corruption in the mid-1990s, leading to his ultimate fall from grace.
The film follows that rise, in all its excess and indulgence, and how Belfort's schemes, drug abuse and womanizing finally caught up to him.
For the most part, "Wolf" succeeds, although not quite at the level many viewers would expect, given the filmmaker's pedigree.
DiCaprio is gung-ho as Belfort, delivering a performance that seduces the audience, only to appall them with the depths to which he would sink to keep his lavish lifestyle afloat.
When "Wolf of Wall Street" focuses on Belfort's business and stays in the workplace, it is at its best, taking viewers on an exhilarating ride through the seedy side of Wall Street business.
But, oddly, the biggest problem with this film about excess and over indulgence is that it feels too excessive – especially its 3-hour running time. The movie seems unable to decide if it wants to be a dark comedy or a cautionary drama.
There are only so many scenes of drug abuse and prostitution that an audience can take. We get it – this guy and his associates are deplorable and did a lot of crazy stuff. But so much craziness is packed into the film that it eventually becomes mind-numbing and monotonous.
DiCaprio and Scorsese are professional enough that they manage to keep this from completely jumping the rails.
If you want to see a better Scorsese-esque film, skip "Wall Street" and go see "American Hustle" instead.
"The Wolf of Wall Street" is rated R for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence and is now playing at the Regal Greenwood Mall Stadium 10.