The only way to approach the recent and ongoing excesses of Wall Street is through the filter of jet black comedy. Anything else would simply hurt too much at this point.
Thankfully, the new trailer for Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf Of Wall Street,” which is now set for Christmas Day as our own Kris Tapley noted earlier this afternoon, suggests that Scorsese and screenwriter Terence Winter have taken the non-fiction book by Jordan Belfort, the loathsome stockbroker scumbag who is played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film, and transformed it into something that feels like a “Dr. Strangelove” by way of “Goodfellas,” a wicked spin on a bunch of characters who don’t care who they have to eat to get fat.
Jonah Hill is emphasized much more in this new trailer than in the original “Black Skinhead” trailer from July, and it looks like a hell of a performance. I am mesmerized by every single shot of his teeth.
More than that, though, it looks like he has great chemistry with DiCaprio, who seems positively manic in the footage we see in this new trailer. I’m not sure what makes someone sign on for both this and “Gatsby” in the same year, but whatever it is that DiCaprio saw in the roles, he seems to have approached them in very different ways. This is big energy, some very strange laughs, and a sort of glee that simply isn’t part of Gatsby or his world view. DiCaprio looks like he’s having fun even as the walls close in.
I’ve heard word there was a four hour cut of this film at one point, and I’m curious how Scorcese is going to wrestle this thing into shape, and what that shape is going to be. I think comedy is one of the things people never associate with Scorsese, but he’s got a very funny sensibility that is simply expressed in small ways instead of being in-your-face from start to finish.
This could be a great match of filmmaker and material. Few people are better at capturing both the rise and the fall, and I hope the film positively revels in Belfort getting his comeuppance.
We’ll see when Paramount releases this on December 25, 2013.