Sunday, 26 January 2014

Quick Reviews #6

Oscar season is upon us and over in the UK we are finally getting to see some of the contenders which have been out in the USA for a month now. Taking advantage of this, over a period of 24 hours I went to see The Wolf of Wall Street and 12 Years a Slave. Below are my reviews for both films.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese is my favourite director, I look up to the man, he is a big inspiration so therefore I couldn't wait for his latest film with the super talented Leonardo DiCaprio. The film is a masterpiece and very reminiscent of Scorsese's best film Goodfellas. The film is adapted from the autobiography of Jordan Belfort, a sly banker with a addiction to money, sex and drugs. The film is crazy from the beginning and never runs out of steam. Every scene in its three hour running time is fast paced, funny and beautifully shot. How this film isn't up for a best editing Oscar is beyond me! Scorsese has a great eye for pacing among other things and the story is just so well told. Although not technically a comedy, I actually laughed more at this film then I did when I saw Anchorman 2 the other week. One stand out scene that involved Belfort on drugs (although there are many) had me in stitches! The acting is great with Leonardo DiCaprio giving a brilliantly enigmatic performance that will undeservedly be snubbed at the Oscars yet again. Everybody else is also brilliant including Jonah Hill who is becoming a force to reckon with. The film has been criticised for 'glorifying' what these bankers were doing, but by the time the films ends I did not want to be in any of their shoes. Apart from being slightly long there aren't really any flaws plus, I don't care about watching three hours worth of footage from the best director around today. Scorsese just doesn't get lazy, with this being one of the last few films we will see from him, he still puts many younger directors to shame, he takes risks and he isn't afraid to move the camera around as much as possible. I am rating the film a 5/5. On another note, don't watch this with your Mum!

12 Years a Slave 

A bit more serious than The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave is also based on a true story, this time one about Solomon Northup, a free man who was kidnapped and spent 12 horrible years as a slave. The film is no doubt going to win big at the Oscars not only due to it's delicate subject matter, but also because of it's great cinematography and heartbreaking tale. Compared to Steve McQueen's previous work, this film is a little bit more safe, going for more of a linear narrative rather than his more experimental style, however this film still has a lot of powerful imagery that is really well used to provoke a wide range of emotions whilst viewing. It was nice to see a change of pace, with McQueen adding many long shots letting us observe certain moments that drag on (in a good way) to try and fully engage us with the troubles and hardships of the characters. Each character was so well written with plenty of layers that make none of them stereotypical. The film is quite tough to watch at times, with a lot of violence shown at it's most graphic, it was nice to be reminded that I wasn't fully desensitised to it. The film was educational, it showed things that happened during this period of time that I was unaware about. Similarly to films about the holocaust, it makes you feel guilty knowing the capabilities of the human race and ultimately Solomon becomes our eyes and ears of the era as he witnesses terrible events which have all been drawn from reality. It's a sad and heartbreaking tale and you don't come out of the cinema fully happy knowing that this period in time happened and racism still exists today. It's also very well acted with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender giving some of their best performances in this film.  It's an enlightening film that captures the incredible story of Solomon Northup in a very powerful way, I am giving the film a rating of 5/5.

Two excellent but very different films, both up for a lot of Oscars. The competition is big this year! What did you think of the films? Did you enjoy them as much as I did? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Good review my friend! I still need to see both these films and, with all the good press they are getting, it's making me so annoyed that I'm too busy to see them!

    1. Thank you! Don't worry, once you get time they will both be worth the wait!


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