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'The Wolf of Wall Street' is best of the season


Pride goeth before the fall, passion goeth before reason; and very atypically, this review goeth before the film opens in Hays.

"The Wolf of Wall Street," directed by Hollywood legend Martin Scorsese, tells the true -- and truly shocking -- story of Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who led his clients, his family and his life to the slaughter and lived to tell the tale.

Leonardo DiCaprio delivers yet another breathtaking performance as Jordan Belfort. The range DiCaprio displays is nothing short of amazing; his character is a laser show -- equal parts erratic and focused. The entire cast should be on the receiving end of well-deserved accolades. Drugs and comedy are a common cocktail in cinema, and to make the combination both humorous and horrifying is no small achievement.

The holiday season typically is a good time for movies. Frequent readers might have noticed a pattern in my scores of late. They've been almost exclusively 5s. "The Hunger Games 2," "Frozen," "12 Years a Slave," "The Hobbit 2," "Anchorman 2," "American Hustle" and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" all have received a score of five out of six from me. That said, I think it's important to remind readers my scores are stand-alone and are not necessarily comparative. Not all 5s are created equal. A 5 in my book denotes a good or very good film, which ultimately falls short of true greatness. I can say with certainty "The Wolf of Wall Street" is the most masterfully crafted and acted out of its Five-Receiving-Brethren, and barely edges out "Frozen" as my favorite film of the holidays.

Put simply, this is not a movie for the easily offended, or even the mildly-difficult-to-offend. There are more drugs, obscenities, sex and all-around naughtiness than you can shake a stick at. For those who have the tolerance, "The Wolf of Wall Street" is a long and dark comedy that, but for a little more "substance," could have been one of the all-time greats.

* 5 of 6 stars

James Gerstner works at Fort Hays State University Foundation.