'The Wolf of Wall Street' Review: All the Sin Money Can Buy

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in Martin Scorsese's 'The Wolf of Wall Street' about the exploits of a crooked stock broker.

This film image released by Paramount Pictures shows Jonah Hill, left, and Leonardo DiCaprio in a scene from "The Wolf of Wall Street."
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DiCaprio gives an intense, dynamic performance. He is the Jay Gatsby of what "The Great Gatsby" should have been – except stripped of any compassion or emotional longing. He contorts his pretty face into a red, burning ball of flesh, throbbing with passion and/or chemicals, in a manner that is altogether terrifying, entrancing and hilarious. He also demonstrates a surprising knack for physical comedy, untapped in his recent more "serious" roles.

Hill has come into his own as an adult actor post-"Superbad." He still plays the chubby, loser best friend. But he is exploring new, exciting variations of that archetype (this time an aspiring WASP with a streak of depravity) and he can certainly carry some of the film's scenes on his own.

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Robbie, in a breakout role, is no trophy wife, but a statuesque blond who can purr, bark and bite – all in a Brooklyn accent. The rest of the ensemble toes – or gropes even – the line of caricature as the aid and abet all manners of Belfort's sins.

"The Wolf of Wall Street" – through the mouths and actions of its characters – offends all sorts of sensitivities of political correctness. It's cruel to women, gay men, dwarfs, Italians, marching bands, the Swiss, the English, those suffering physical and mental disabilities, law enforcement and the working class – all so Belfort can have a great time.

If a film's misogynist, homophobic anti-heroes are anti-heroes in the vaguest and most glamorized sense, does that mean the film is misogynist and homophobic? That's a question Scorsese isn't really interested in answering, or any others for that matter. You get the sense he took on the project so he can wax poetically about the escalating stages of a Quaalude high, throw a 175 foot yacht into a monstrous sea storm, and make Matthew McConaughey pound his chest in a tribal war-chant while wearing a $2,000 suit and downing martinis. And like Belfort's pitiable clients, you fall for Scorsese's pitch. Who cares if it's all too good to be true if you're having this much fun?

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