Director Martin Scorsese turned 71 in November. But if anyone thinks his mojo is at risk due to advanced aged, his latest collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio will shut them up.

In The Wolf of Wall Street, DiCaprio plays real-life stock swindler-turned inmate-turned motivational speaker Jordan Belfort, whose talent for scamming investors led to the creation of the $1 billion brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont in the late 80s.

Scorsese and Boardwalk Empire-showrunner Terence Winter’s vision of Belfort’s outrageous autobiography is unique in that it sustains the drug- and sex-crazed energy for nearly 75 percent of its three-hour runtime, largely by playing almost everything for laughs.

In fact, Wolf is the funniest movie Scorsese’s ever made, and is his most successful attempt at black comedy. After Hours and The King of Comedy seem Bergmanian in comparison.

Scorsese even allows, or succumbs, to heavy, heavy self-parody, primarily in the Goodfellas-drenched narration provided by DiCaprio, and Jonah Hill’s committed pastiche of Joe Pesci.

Wolf is imperfect, it’s painfully rushed towards the end and blatantly strives for the audience of Jackass rather than The Aviator. But it’s consistently entertaining, and is proof that Martin Scorsese, unlike most of his New Hollywood peers, still has the energy of a filmmaker half his age.

~Stephen Swanson


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