Martin Scorsese’s latest critical darling hits Irish cinemas today, and I’m sure you’ve made your mind up whether you’re going to go check it out by now if you haven’t done so already – but, just in case you’re still on the fence, I thought I’d bring you my (very late) slightly less positive take on The Wolf Of Wall Street.
First off let me say that I am a huge Martin Scorsese fan, and even at his worst (Gangs Of New York for example) I feel his movies are always at the very least watchable/decent. The Wolf Of Wall Street is no exception – it’s impeccably shot, brilliantly acted and at times pretty damn hilarious – but the deeper, scathing indictment of excess some have hailed it to be? Not for me.
Jordan Belfort (Leondardo DiCaprio) is a scumbag. He’s surrounds himself with other scumbags, and all of them do progressively worse scummy things as the movie progresses, and then three hours later the movie ends. As I said, their antics ARE very funny at times – a highlight being an absolutely insane Quaalude overdose scene which sees Belfort crawl from a Country Club to his car, to his kitchen where he attempts to fight with an equally fucked up Jonah Hill (pretty good. Oscar worthy? Nope). But it’s just so…pointless! We get that these guys and these times were full of excess, we understand how crazy things became and we know already – as much as some would like to spin this as some kind of much needed morality tale – that this is not how one should behave. I’m not saying Scorsese and co. are necessarily glorifying these guys and their behavior either, but honestly those that do feel that way have a good case.
For example, there’s a scene aboard a plane in which Belfort and his cronies are annoying some air hostesses with their lewd, obnoxious behavior. Cut to them in an even more lewd, obnoxious state as Belfort is all but raping one of them like a wild animal. Is she horrified? Does she struggle to get away and report his to the authorities? Nah, she’s smiling. Apparently we’re to believe that these charmers go SO extremely out of their minds that they won her over. Hear that kids? Act like a complete cunt and they’ll all come running eventually.
The bottom line is this: As entertaining as the film can be, a superior director and cast aside you’re not looking at too many differences between The Wolf Of Wall Street and an American Pie movie at the end of the day. I’m not sure if Scorsese was attempting to glorify or condemn these guys – maybe it’s both, maybe it’s neither; it’s understood that he is, for better or worse, telling Jordan Belfort’s story. The thing is, his story just isn’t very interesting.