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Review: ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ goes too far too long telling a story of excess

2014-01-10-The-Wolf-of-Wall-Street-movie-posterSoaked in booze, drugs, sex, money and an overwhelming greed for all of the above, Jordan Belfort was the poster child of everything wrong with Wall Street.

Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Belfort’s book, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” is equally soaked in booze, drugs, sex and money over the course of a wild three hours of swindling, partying and all-around debauchery.

Rarely am I so conflicted about a movie.

On one hand, it’s impossible to deny the craftsmanship put into the directing, the snappy dialogue provided by Terence Winter’s (“The Sopranos,” “Boardwalk Empire”) screenplay and the acting performances, especially Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort. I recently compared “American Hustle” to Scorsese’s “Goodfellas,” but if “The Wolf of Wall Street” proves anything, only Scorsese could have made “Goodfellas,” and even at 71, only he could deliver a film such as this one.

On the other hand, however, the film goes so completely overboard depicting Belfort’s insanely profane life, it begins to weigh down the film long before its lengthy runtime is over. Really, how many cocaine-fueled parties with people doing all manner of unspeakable things to each other can one film have? I honestly lost count after the first two hours. To put it simply, Scorsese does for sex and drugs in this movie what director Quentin Tarantino did for bloody violence in “Django Unchained.” I actually felt somewhat shell-shocked leaving the theater, and it was pretty obvious I wasn’t the only one.

The film is rated R for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence.

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