Each and every month, Netflix adds new original movies, as well as films that are borrowed from other studios to shore up its cinematic lineup. Essentially, movies are coming and going all of the time. While we can’t predict the quality of Netflix’s original flicks sight unseen, the established films allow us to make an educated pick for the single best movie to watch on Netflix in September. And this month, that film is The Wolf of Wall Street, a 2013 crime/comedy flick from director Martin Scorsese.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a timely choice because Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio are reteaming for the seventh time next month with The Killers of the Flower Moon. Their collaboration dates back over two decades, and Scorsese and DiCaprio have proven to bring out the best in each other. But if you have any doubts that this is the best movie to watch in September, then we have three reasons why you should check it out and see for yourself.
In the film, DiCaprio plays perhaps his most unredeemable character: A real-life stockbroker named Jordan Belfort. The real Belfort had a talent for enticing people to buy nearly worthless stocks while he made sure that he and his cohorts were the only ones who got rich. DiCaprio appears to relish the opportunity to play a man who is devoid of any empathy or compassion. Belfort does come off as cartoonishly over-the-top at times, which is why it’s even more striking that he isn’t some made-up character.
DiCaprio is spellbinding when he replicates Belfort’s vocal gifts and successfully parts the gullible and the vulnerable from their life’s savings. Belfort is absolutely despicable and yet, you can’t take your eyes off of him. And it really is kind of darkly funny to see how little Belfort cares about the damage he leaves in his wake. This puts the audience in the strange position of both rooting for Belfort while also hoping to see him answer for everything that he’s done. It’s an odd dichotomy that wouldn’t work without DiCaprio’s deliciously sleazy performance.
When your previous film credits include directing all-time classics like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and Casino, it’s understandable why some people would feel that nothing else could match those accomplishments. That’s the curse of Martin Scorsese, a director who has been making movies for over six decades and who happens to be turning 81 in two months. No matter how great Scorsese’s current films are, they almost always get compared unfavorably to his previous movies.
This is why The Wolf of Wall Street stands out from the pack. Unlike his earlier crime epics, Scorsese turned his attention away from the mafia and focused on the white collar crimes committed by Belfort and his cronies. And because of the ridiculous personality of Belfort himself, Scorsese appears to have felt free to embrace the comedic aspects of this story in a way that would have seemed out of place in his previous films. There are some very funny scenes throughout The Wolf of Wall Street, although it’s far from a typical comedy. The humor largely comes from Belfort’s amorality and the way he celebrates his ill-gotten gains with so much debauchery that even the most-devoted hedonist may blush.
Margot Robbie toiled in Hollywood for five years before she had her breakout role in The Wolf of Wall Street. Long before she ruled the box office in Barbie, this was the film that made Robbie a star. She plays Naomi Lapaglia, Belfort’s mistress and, later, his wife. Considering how relatively little experience Robbie had at the time, it’s amazing that she steals nearly every scene that she’s in while playing off of DiCaprio.
This part allowed Robbie to show off her comedic chops as well, as the dramatic range that has served her well in the decade since this film was released. It’s a rare treat to witness the arrival of a true Hollywood superstar, and it played out before our eyes in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Watch The Wolf of Wall Street on Netflix on September 12.
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