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The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The Dynamic Duo Returns
Martin Scorsese and Leonardo Dicaprio collaborate once again for The Wolf of Wall Street, and the duo once again knocks it out of the park. As matter of fact, this is Martin Scorsese's best movie in years and this is perhaps Dicaprio's best performance of all time. If you can stomach the constant glorification of drugs, prostitution, adultery, money laundering, and midget tossing, you're in for a real treat. If you have religious convictions, you might want to stay away from this film. The Wolf of Wall Street is swimming in sin. Sweet, savory sin.
Sex, sex, sex. Quaaludes, quaaludes. Cocaine, cocaine, and midget tossing. This movie is filled with what some would call "filth" and others would call "treasures". It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, because lets face it: this movie has the potential to offend at least several groups of people out there. Feminists might be turned off by the sexual representation of many of the female characters. Religious people will scoff at the unruly nature of the Wall Street Wolves. Government kiss-asses will throw their hands in disgust over the middle finger this film waves at them. During my public viewing, I heard gasps and noticed a lot of people walking out in the middle of the movie. But Scorsese is a man with a legacy, and he didn't let the potential to offend people stifle his creative vision. If you the viewer allows yourself to enjoy the film, you will find a film with great acting, groovy music, and top notch cinematography. Scorsese still has it.
Although Jordan Belfort's controversial life isn't one to imitate, there is a heck of a lot of inspiration that I drew from the man's passion and leadership skills. What he did was illegal, but it was also impressive. He built an empire from scraps, and carried himself with enough confidence to build up his foot soldiers. Ultimately, his illegal activity catches up to him, but he was fortunate enough to survive the wasteland left in his wake. When you're an animal as fierce as a wolf, you take what you want, and you not only survive, you thrive.
American Psycho (2000)
Understand that it's a dark comedy
Upon my first viewing of American Psycho, I was deeply disturbed. I was left feeling empty and disgusted by the violent and unsympathetic tale of Bale's character. Of course, my opinion has since changed, and it is actually one of my all-time favorites. What I didn't realize from my first viewing of this film is that American Psycho isn't really a "drama" or a "horror-thriller". It's actually a dark comedy, and an insanely quotable one at that!
After multiple viewings, the movie actually felt very light-hearted in a strange, twisted way. It's intention was to be over the top and poke fun at the upper-class. Christian Bale's performance initially left me feeling sick to my stomach, but that is only proof of the man's talent. The character of Patrick Bateman doesn't kill people because he has to, he kills people because he enjoys it. Christian Bale made me believe he enjoyed his murder spree. I'd hate to know how he prepared for this role!
Bale's co-stars do a great job too, with solid performances from a few well known actors (Reece Witherspoon, Jered Leto, and William Defoe), and many lesser known actors. The entire cast and crew did a great job of bringing the audience into a world where greed and selfishness is the forefront of this familiar society. The world that director Marry Harron created is merely a parodied reflection of our own society. We live in a time when people are more concerned with their own public-image than the well-being of others. American Psycho found a way to make us laugh about it.