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Wolf of Wall Street

Based on actual events portrayed in a book by Jordan Belfort, a Wall Street stockbroker who rose to fortune and ended up serving time in prison for defrauding investors. There are things about the movie I liked. (1) I thought this was one of Leondardo DiCaprio’s strongest performances; (2) putting this movie in the hands of Martin Scorsese was a great choice – he takes a story that might otherwise be commonplace and documentary-like and turns it into something that is irreverent, over-the-top, and funny; and (3) in the process, it serves as an interesting commentary on Wall Street and corporate greed. Some reasons I did not think it was a great film are (1) it was too long (although I did stay pretty engaged during most of it); (2) the movie was so “over the top” that what worked for the first couple of hours for me lost its edge after that point; and (3) I think there was an opportunity to make more penetrating statements about corporate greed and their consequences. But thumbs up for a movie that, in spite of its flaws, is still fun storytelling in the Scorsese tradition. (2013; 3 stars)

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