2013 is turning out to be a bad year for movies. Some of the most anticipated films the year have disappointed me — American Hustle, Inside Llewyn Davis, and now The Wolf of Wall Street. I found The Wolf to be a very entertaining movie — for the length of a normal movie. For no good reason, though, it’s three hours long. Now I have no problem with long movies — as long as there’s a reason for it. Last year’s best film, Django Unchained, clocked in at 2 hours 45 min., and I can’t imagine cutting a thing out. It was a rich film that required every last minute to tell its delicious tale. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Breaking the Waves and Mulholland Drive are further examples that come to mind, ones made greater by the time they occupy, not lesser.
Not the case with The Wolf of Wall Street. I agree with critical consensus that this is a very entertaining film — but for only about the first half. The second half on its own is not terrible — though there are some ridiculous, B-movie sequences that are put forward — but after about the half-way mark the film has said as much as it will by the end. The last hour of the movie adds nothing fresh, and it ends up suffocating under its own extruded weight.
And that’s a pity. Trimming this movie down to the lean mean fighting machine that it deserves to be would have resulted in a champ. As it is, I can only recommend it with the caveat that you peel yourself away for the last hour or so. But of course I must judge the entire film, and on balance it’s thumbs down. 5/10
She by Spike Jonze is the next, and probably the last, big 2013 release — I sincerely hope I won’t be disappointed again.
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