The Wolf of Wall Street: A financial flick that won't steal your hard-earned ticket money

Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comDecember 25, 2013 

Film Fall Preview

This film image released by Paramount Pictures shows Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort in a scene from "The Wolf of Wall Street." (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures and Red Granite Pictures, Mary Cybulski)


Martin Scorsese directs The Wolf of Wall Street, and Leonardo DiCaprio stars. That tells you three things: 1) the performances will be incredible, 2) the movie will be long and 3) it will be one of the year's best movies.

DiCaprio stars as real-life Jordan Balfort. He was a wheeler dealer who headed up a penny stock company on Wall Street in the 1990s. Balfort and his associates and employees -- wait for it -- bilked their customers out of millions of dollars. No plot surprise there. The why is obvious, and so is the how. All things in between the two is where The Wolf of Wall Street comes together.

DiCaprio's performance is his usual A-plus. Balfort is a greedy, super slick, drug addicted, womanizing sleazo with the inspirational speaking skills of a televangelist. A minute or two into one of DiCaprio's many speeches and you're ready to leap to your feet, take out your wallet and punctuate the action with an "amen, brother."

Also of note is a manic, hyper performance from the always engaging Jonah Hill. He's Balfort's equally greedy main underling, Donnie Azoff. Others in the cast are Kyle Chandler as the FBI agent hot on Balfort's trail, Rob Reiner as Balfort's accountant dad and Margot Robbie as Balfort's very sexy wife.

It's no surprise that The Wolf of Wall Street is about Wall Street greed and corruption. Put the words Wall Street in the title of any movie, and you know the film's main characters will not be heroes. This is a three-hour tour through a life, lies and excess.

Scorcese, who is a superb storyteller, makes it a fun trip. The Wolf of Wall Street comes at you from the point of view of Balfort and his minions. Though they're doing horrible things and getting filthy rich off of the hard-earned money of others, there is no condemnation. Balfort and Azoff are so likable you almost hope they get away with it.

Director: Martin Scorsese

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, Jon Bernthal, Spike Jonze, Kyle Chandler

Mr. Movie rating: 4 1/2 stars

Rated R for language, drug use, nudity, mature themes. It's playing at the Carmike 10, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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