A speculative four stars, in a way, as I thnk - like Casino - this… MoreA speculative four stars, in a way, as I thnk - like Casino - this film will be better on repeated viewing, despite being lesser work from the director of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. DiCaprio is good, but was not unduly snubbed from Oscar consideration this time; there are few scenes in which he's really good (the yacht scene with the FBI agents, for instance), but at other times he looks like he's just alternating between his Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro impressions, chewing scenery all the while. Still on the acting, I couldn't buy into Jonah Hill, but I thought Margot Robbie's performance was brilliant, and I was more impressed by the relative unknowns in this cast than by the leads. And one huge but sort of silly sign it was good: it's the first time in a long time that I've sat through a movie without hitting "pause" once... considering its three-hour runtime, that feels like a feather in its cap. Not Scorsese's best, but with some famous directors - Ridley Scott's another - a mediocre outing is still much better than the average junk we usually watch, and I think we take the high-level film-making for granted, nitpicking or wishing that great work could be legendary. It's no Taxi Driver - hey, what is? - but on the other hand, it's no Bringing Out the Dead either, and I'd give Scorsese a little credit for going outside his comfort zone: it's probably his least violent movie since Kundun. A very good movie that ought to gain more respect over time.
It took a really long time for me to connect with these characters and… MoreIt took a really long time for me to connect with these characters and this story but eventually it felt worth my while. There are a few truly beautiful moments, but it's a film that struggles with pacing and tone - it flirts with the whimsy of Kelly's Heroes but becomes much more of a historical drama, in the end, (never mind that the drama never quite gets intense enough). The stakes never quite resonate - maybe because the ensemble's too big, and the story gets spread too thin between so many characters? - and as a whole, the movie is too glossy or something; it just doesn't feel important. But it's pleasant to watch and Cate Blanchett steals every scene she's in, so there's that. Another so-so George Clooney-directed movie, in all.