One of the most admirable aspects to a Martin Scorsese film is, typically, the disciplined screenwriting. In everything from “Mean Streets” to “Goodfellas,” “Raging Bull” to “The Aviator,” Scorsese has taken screenplays by various writers and forged often complicated story lines into accessible, tightly woven films.
Until now. His latest movie “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which was written by Terence Winter based on the memoir by Jordan Belfort, is two-thirds of a great film. It even out-hustles David O. Russell's “American Hustle.” But then, when it needs to stop, it just goes on … and on. In fact, it never does quite end as much as simply run out of energy.
Which is too bad, really. Scorsese, who is 71, is still capable of putting the kind of energy into a film that directors half his age would have trouble summoning. It's just that he proves too respectful of Winter, best known for writing scripts for miniseries such as “The Sopranos” and “Boardwalk Empire.” Clearly, though, movies need more focus than a miniseries.
Focus … and discipline.