The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) Film Review

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Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) was a stock broker who, after the Black Monday crash in 1987, found himself out of a job. After finding a small company in the suburbs that traded in penny stocks (don’t ask me – its starts getting technical here), he discovered a way to make a lot of money in the stock market using dodgy, if not downright illegal, practices. Along the way he accumulates a lot of very loyal staff and friends, loses a wife, gains another, takes a lot of drugs and end up extremely rich. And the FBI notice.

It’s based on a true story, and it’s pretty interesting. It’s a fun film that I really enjoyed, but it didn’t seem all that original. It is certainly worth a watch, but it didn’t scream out as a story that needed to be told,  and I cannot see how it has been nominated for so many awards. It is absolutely worth watching for two things: Jonah Hill (or even just Jonah Hill’s teeth) and the brief appearance of Matthew McConaughey at the start.

The Wolf of Wall Street was nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jonah Hill), Best Directing (Martin Scorsese), Best Writing: Adapted Screenplay (Terence Winter). It was also nominated for Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture,  Musical or Comedy, Best Actor in A Motion Picture,  Musical or Comedy (Leonardo DiCaprio) and for BAFTAs for Adapted Screenplay (Terence Winter), Leading Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Director (Martin Scoresese) and Editing.

American Hustle (2013) Film Review

 

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Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) is a con artist who falls for Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) and they develop a whole set of scams. Then in steps FBI agent Richie Di Maso (Bradley Cooper) and the plays they are running are no longer their own – and become more and more ambitious.

David O. Russell’s last film was Silver Linings Playbook, and while I enjoyed watching it, I felt an emptiness at the end, as though I’d been sucked in to think that was a good film when it just wasn’t. I was a little concerned going in to this film that I would find the same problem, and thank goodness not. This is a truly excellent film. The writing is very strong, with twists that I didn’t pick (and loved that aspect). The characters were wonderful, with some of the most repulsively wonderful clothes and hair, although I was a bit distracted by Amy Adams’ boobs. I am not a fan of Christian Bale, which I think is because many of the parts he has played are extremely creepy and unlikable. Apart from Batman; I think he was perfect in that. His portrayal of Irving Rosenfeld is brilliant. A lesser actor may have relied on the weight gain, mysterious hair and creepy glasses, but Bale showed the deeper emotions of the character,  both in a subtle manner and, when required, with the force of a sledgehammer. Add in the magnificent Jennifer Lawrence, a brief moment of Robert De Niro, Louis C.K.  and Jeremy Renner and you got a cast.

American Hustle won Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (though I think it is a drama, not a comedy or a musical. A drama a laughed in, but certainly a drama), Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (Amy Adams), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role is a Motion Picture (Jennifer Lawrence) and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (Christian Bale), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Bradley Cooper), Best Director – Motion Picture (David O. Russell, Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell). It was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Christian Bale), Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Amy Adams), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Bradley Cooper), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Achievement in Costume Design, Best Achievement in Directing (David O. Russell), Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Production Design and Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell). It was nominated for BAFTAs for Best Original Screenplay (Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell), Best Film, Best Leading Actor (Christian Bale), Best Leading Actress (Amy Adams), Best Supporting Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence, Best Production Design, Best Make Up/Hair and Best Costume Design.