Do these images look ridiculous to you? Yes? Good. You’re probably a decent human being. No? Then I’m concerned about your morals (or lack thereof).
Am I making a snap judgement about this film? Absolutely. Does it deserve some skepticism and perhaps a closer look? Not really, but if you insist.
Martin Scorsese has one of the longest, most prolific, and highly lauded careers in Hollywood. I really don’t need to say any more than that. The man is a living legend, and based on many of the excellent films he’s created, that legacy is well-deserved.
The Wolf of Wall Street, however, is a new low. It was nominated for Best Picture because the director is super-famous and the Academy loves taunting Leonardo Di Caprio with empty promises. Yeah, the man should win an Oscar, but not for this cluster****.
To those of you who jump to the film’s defense, pointing out that it’s supposed to be a black comedy, yes: you have a point. The film is, at times, hilarious, especially during most of the Jonah Hill scenes. Hill is fabulous, and I genuinely enjoyed his performance despite its awful context. But even Jonah Hill and the also-wonderful Jean Dujardin couldn’t save this film. Hell, I even thought Margot Robbie did a good job even though the character she portrayed was a sexist stereotype.
Let me make something clear: my issue with this film has very little to do with the common critiques, e.g., there are too many drugs; there’s boobs everywhere!; it broke the record for the word “f***” being said in a drama film. I understand that the film is supposed to depict a rancid world, and it does that very, very well.
My issue is that allegedly, the movie is supposed to make audiences feel disgusted by the type of lifestyle being portrayed by ultimately casting judgement on the title character, Jordan Belfort. Instead, the probes from the Securities and Exchange Commission are written off as jokes—we are encouraged, in fact, to admire Belfort’s cleverly evasive techniques—and Belfort’s eventual arrest is portrayed as little more than an inconvenience. Drugs are bad, yeah, yeah, yeah, but in the film they are the basis for an endless series of jokes. In other words, the bottom line seems to be: Yes, the man committed numerous crimes to construct his dystopia, but when that dystopia is filled with mansions, yachts, hookers, and trophy wives, should we care? I’m unconvinced Scorsese really wanted to use this film as an opportunity to teach a lesson. If anything, I suspect that it will re-encourage and sanction the lifestyle that many naive and morally adrift fortune-seekers are trying to attain, all in the name of the American Dream.
Moreover, for all the hours and hours of movie, there are surprisingly few technical details. What, exactly, was Belfort doing that was so sketchy or illegal? Besides the rather obvious money laundering, I mean. The ambiguity in which these crimes are enshrouded further emphasizes the point that Scorsese isn’t concerned with what the crimes are or who they hurt, but rather the kind of lifestyle they enabled. In total, the film further normalizes this type of ravenous anti-social behavior in the eyes of the general public, who already allow wealth-seekers to accumulate sociopathic levels of richness.
Next, as in many of Scorsese’s films, we are implicitly made to realize that we are watching a story about a man’s world, in which women are accessories. This is, undoubtedly, a feature of Jordan Belfort’s own story full of misogyny and hookers. But, ahem, I really find it difficult to believe that Scorsese hasn’t been eviscerated for the sexism in his films. Gangs of New York: One hot blonde character, played by Cameron Diaz. Shutter Island: One hot blonde character, played by Michelle Williams, who’s also crazy. The Departed: One prominent female character, played by the blond-ish Vera Farmiga. The pattern continues throughout many of his other films, which usually feature just one prominent female character whose main purpose is to be a romantic interest for (one of) the men. They typically have little agency, as they are usually either purely ornamental (Robbie in Wolf) or act as nurses for the male protagonist (Diaz in Gangs, Beckinsale in The Aviator). There might be an excellent body of literature on this already. If anyone knows of any academic papers, news articles, or books discussing sexism in Scorsese’s films, please let me know in the comments below.
Also inexcusable was the poor editing. I lost count of the number of times I saw a misplaced arm or water glass. People magically moved two feet in between instantaneous cuts, and one time—I kid you not—the mouth movements of a character speaking in profile didn’t match the dialogue. Several of the scenes—nay, the entire movie—were drawn out and/or unnecessary. It felt cheap, like Scorsese attempted to turn one of Judd Apatow’s lower comedies into an Oscar flick. (wait a sec.) They attempted to make an epic out of something that deserved nothing more than the standard run time, if it even deserved that.
The Wolf of Wall Street is not a cautionary tale for would-be brokers. Rather, it’s a shocking example of the catastrophe that results from overblown budgets, blockbuster actors roped into playing despicable characters, and directors who consider themselves above criticism. The mere fact that so many have pointlessly defended the film, calling it an indictment rather than a condonement, means that the satire wasn’t successfully achieved. Save yourself the time and the agony and watch a real attack on this type of lifestyle, American Psycho, instead.
Overall grade: D.
P.S. Before you start posting nasty stuff in the comments, go read this. And this. I’m not crazy, folks.
48 thoughts on “Yeah, it was terrible: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)”
2022 and I finally decided to watch it. Super corny movie in all aspects. Couldn’t even bring myself to finish it.
If you thought the film was excessive in it’s drugs/ sex/ violence, then yes you’re right, because that was the whole point of the movie. The film glorifies Jordan’s life of crime because It’s meant to be a cautionary tale about how easy it is to lose all human morale and values when your own personal gain is great. It makes the main character into a hero because he goes after what he wants in life, despite the horrible things he has to do to the people around him to get there. Martin Scorcesse is often very subtle about how he tells lessons in his films, instead of spelling it out for the audience like most other Hollywood directors these days. If you thought this was a tasteless or shallow movie, you clearly aren’t intelligent enough to understand it, or Scorcesse’s movies in general…
i actually loved the movie. It could’ve ended a half hour earlier (I usually hate long movies) but i really liked the actors and matthew mccaunaghy (sp) was superb for the short amount of time he was in the movie. i haven’t seen leo in any funny roles and it was a cool change of pace from relatively recent Di Caprio movies like Shutter Island and Inception. I liked how it was somewhat serious but there were many parts of the movie where i genuinely laughed out loud. This is one of my favorite non-comedy movies. I may be a bit biased because leo is my favorite actor, but my grade for the movie is an A-
Yeah lots of people did love it! Appreciate you stating you differing opinion in a nice way. Sometimes the comment section here can get a little…passionate. Haha
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Someone needs to go up to this director and tell him, “Hey Martin, just because a movie CAN be 3 hours, doesn’t mean it SHOULD be three hours.” I kinda felt the same way about American Hustle. Such a fluffy story could easily have been told in 90 minutes. Or a 60 second commercial that said, “Hey! Look at all the cool retro fashion from the late 70’s!” But i digress…
Yeah, I though American Hustle was really bad, too. It just made no sense at all. Wasn’t a story worth telling. I hope the 3 hour movie thing doesn’t become a trend… that’s why I’ve been watching more TV lately! I can fit in a 50-minute episode after work, but a 160-minute movie? Nope.
Finally saw it last night. IT IS INDEED TERRIBLE! And you’re right, it’s not even the bazoombas, booze and doobies, it’s the story itself. It’s a movie about the wastes these criminals did with what they stolen. That’s it, all in almost three hours movie. I waited and waited for the story to really get there hoping to see some sparks, some er? blow or high. I didn’t get to see it. So disappointing.
Leonardo diCarpio’s shift of acting is so forced! It was painful to watch him esp. having admired his scenes in The Departed and Revolutionary Road.
Jonah Hill, he’s hilarious but a lot of his funny scenes was, for me, unnecessary to the film (a lot of the scene could have been cut really). The very slight transition was incredible … but his character was the same way as what he usually portrays. So it like another empty promise, it was suprising but nothing to wow about.
The most harsh thing for me is that I don’t know what to feel. Is it really funny or serious? One specially when when Jonah Hill’s character needed to hang the phone. They built this kind of suspense and then turned around and make it humurous! I didn’t get it.
This movie reminds me of Catch Me If You Can and Flight.
I haven’t seen Catch Me if you Can or Flight, but now I will actively avoid them!
I’m always relieved when someone agrees with me about how bad the movie is. I find it very disturbing how well it was received.
I agree it wasn’t diCaprio’s best effort, either. He’s just not unlikeable enough to play a scumbag like Jordan Belfort! I still like him best in The Departed.
As for the line between seriousness and humor being too blurry, I think that was a huge problem with the film overall. People wanted to believe that it was all for fun, but these events played out in reality and damaged countless lives as a result. So, there was nothing innocent about it.
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It was a very well written review, and I really enjoyed reading a unique outlook on it. I liked the film, and my only major complaint was about the super long run time. Thus it made this fascinating to read! While my opinion does not change, I can totally see and understand your points.
Glad you took the time to read my review, even if you don’t agree. That’s not something many people are willing to do, so thank you for that and the kind comment!
I haven’t read it, but wow. Very well said!!
Thanks!! Do let me know what you think once you’ve had a chance to see the movie.
Interesting review. Except for one blogger, I’ve read nothing but negative reviews on this, but you are the first to make it clear as to why it’s so bad. Thank you for that. I’ve not seen this flick, but your explanations are justifiable enough. Women tend to be portrayed in a derogatory manner in some Scorsese flicks. You forgot to mention a 11 year old Jodie Foster playing a child prostitute in ‘Taxi Driver’. But, that was an excellent movie and he has made some other great films too. When you spoke of blondes, it reminded me of Hitchcock (who was obsessed with blondes).
And yes, I’ve heard Jonah Hill was good in this movie in all reviews.
By the way Exhibit A, does look pretty cheap, on it’s own. But I have to see the movie, sometimes a still photograph could tell a completely different story, to actually what takes place.
Wow you’ve read nothing but negative reviews? Most of the ones I’ve seen have been positive, which is why I felt the need to write this in the first place. I’m not super surprised, though, that I would have been exposed to more positive reviews since I’m based in the U.S. and the movie contains several core tenants of the American philosophy, if you will.
I’m glad you brought up Alfred Hitchcock! I actually think of him a lot, too, when it comes to the “icy blonde” stereotype. (See my conversation with Tom Ford, below). I sometimes wonder if the whole idea of a “leading lady” in an otherwise male film isn’t inherently sexist (and the same goes for the opposite—i.e., a “leading man” in a film that’s supposed to be about women). Either way, both genders aren’t given enough credit for their complexity and how they interact with each other. (P.S. – I haven’t seen Taxi Driver! I’m a little ashamed to admit it but that’s why I haven’t talked about it!)
But yes, definitely still go see the movie. I look forward to reading your reaction!
I’ll come back and re read the rest of this when I’ve seen the film. Was afraid you’d ruin it for me! But Jonah Hill is always fantastic.
Glad I didn’t ruin it! I generally try to avoid putting spoilers in my reviews, though I’m not always successful. Do let me know what you think about the film!
The Guardian ran this article today, which includes the comment “This year, there’s The Wolf of Wall Street: an accurate adaptation of delinquent stockbroker Jordan Belfort’s memoir, but so unquestioning of it and of him (Belfort has a self-aggrandising cameo in the film, and stands to make a packet from it) that it undermines its own claim to be satire.” Spot on! http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/jan/30/can-historically-inaccurate-movies-win-oscars?CMP=twt_fd
YES – thanks for this! I also got a hearty chuckle that the Guardian’s Room For Improvement & Personal Best were exactly the same thing: “An extremely faithful rendering of stockbroker Jordan Belfort’s autobiography.”
I completely agree. If the concept of devoting such a massive budget to making a film about such an obnoxious individual wasn’t bad enough, Scorsese then made it 3 hours long and put it together in such a haphazard way that whole plot-lines disappeared off without a trace (why WAS the butler story in there?!). After watching it I felt annoyed that I had given up so much of my time to such a hollow and unsatisfying film, and have grown gradually less fond of it the more I reflect on it. It’s only saving grace really was Jonah Hill. I even thought Leonardo DiCaprio fell into a pantomime, over-the-top and cliched performance. I certainly won’t be queuing to see the 4 hour version that’s apparently in the offing. Bleh.
Good point about the butler storyline! I was in such distress that I didn’t even remember it. But I was happy when he took money from the sock drawer. They probably underpaid him anyway.
Jonah Hill is really just incredibly talented. He knows how to assume a funny posture, how to arrange his face just so to underlie the joke—it’s a lot of fun just watching him on screen. I agree that this wasn’t DiCaprio’s best performance. The line between him and Jordan Belfort got uncomfortably blurry at times. And those preacher-like scenes where he’s shouting capitalist “truths” to his congregation of money-worshipers? Yuck.
You’ve certainly inspired a lively (and constructive) debate with your original post, which like I said I’m 100% in support of. I hate this spurious contention that people like Belfort represent a vicarious desire of all Americans to “have it all”, which apparently means robbing your fellow citizens of their financial security, getting away with it and snorting the proceeds off a hooker’s rear end. I recently heard a clip of Belfort saying that if we didn’t like him we should “go work at MacDonalds.” That’s exactly the way these people want it to be, everything for themselves and you can pick up the scraps. It’s not just a movie. This corrosive mentality has seeped into conservative politics and now we’re getting it from the 1% liberals in Hollywood. Your readers seem smart enough to see through it but I’m afraid lots of others (who view Wolf of Wall Street as a “party movie”) won’t and it’s a shame that Marty fell for this scam.
I hate that contention, too. Especially since I know that in my case, I don’t desire that lifestyle at all! Your comment reminds me of an excellent article I read a few months ago about the CEO of McDonald’s basically being completely a complete misanthrope, and it demonstrates just how pervasive this detrimental mentality really is. Here’s a link if you’re interested: http://www.businessinsider.com/business-and-the-economy-2013-7
I’m sorry, I’m not reading the comments now (I’ll come back to them) but I’m blown away. I’m usually quite conservative in a matter that I don’t think using drugs is funny or having loads of sex and throwing money or something like that is anyway cool but I found it one absolutely hilarious and entertaining but not in the way that it feels like celebrating that lifestyle. And I’m not Scorsese fan either. (Gosh, I don’t know what to write; I’m all the time deleting what I already wrote… I should probably come back to this tomorrow when clock is not 1am. 🙂 )
it’s not a problem, as you can see in the comments below, most people disagree with me about this one. I have to stick to my original analysis, though! I think it’s quite funny that you said you’re normally quite conservative; normally, I’m the opposite! I think there should be more obvious (and more different types of) sex in films, and drugs can be fodder for some amazing jokes (like in Get Him to the Greek, probably one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen). It’s really the lack of humanity that upsets me about this one! As for Scorsese, I’m not really a fan of his either; The Aviator & The Departed are really the only two films of his that I’ve enjoyed (though I haven’t seen Taxi Driver yet, so I may be speaking too soon).
Can I just say I worked as a runner on Get him To The Greek and gave Russell Brand his espresso. And for the record I thought it was a terrible movie haha!
I remember you mentioning that in one of your posts! How cool!! Yeah, I can definitely see how Get Him to the Greek could be considered a terrible movie. But I found it hilarious nonetheless. It was such a funny depiction of starpower/celebrity! All the song lyrics were really horrible and hilarious.
Interesting! I guess I’m not a decent human being then, because I loved this movie 😀
Oddly enough the editing was one of my favorite things too 🙂 But I guess more in terms of pacing. I didn’t notice the things you mention so maybe when re-watch it.
I think the film’s point was to be sexist. The character is sexist. I adore films that don’t judge their characters because they presume the audience is smart enough to decide. Some people might not see anything wrong with it, some people (like us) might see a sexist prick, but who’s the filmmaker to judge? And haven’t we all been there? Who’s perfect? Just because he’s not saying “Belfort is a bad bad man” doesn’t mean that he isn’t.
However you bring up some excellent points I didn’t notice before, especially about gender roles. But in the context of Scorsese’s universe, mobsters & co. I’m not surprised that everyone’s a misogynist. That still doesn’t mean Scorsese agrees, he just shows how it is. Once again it’s up to us to decide if that’s a good thing or not. What do you think?
Thinking back on it now, I probably shouldn’t have started this post that way. I divide people into two sharply different categories, and that’s not fair. I think I just have a mental block with this film and I find it so sickening that it’s hard to imagine anyone enjoying it…
Others have praised the editing because they say that Wolf’s a 3-hour movie that doesn’t feel like it’s 3 hours long. For me, it DID feel like it was 3 hours, particularly because a lot of the material was quite repetitive (the crowd scenes, the drug scenes, the party scenes). I think the 3-hour mark is a tricky one for directors to work with, and that something that epic in size should be reserved for, well, epic movies like Lord of the Rings or Gone With the Wind. That’s a personal preference, though.
As for your question, “Who’s the filmmaker to judge?” I think that’s a much bigger philosophical question about the nature of film in general that neither of us can attempt to answer in reference to a single movie. But for my part, I believe that every single frame of a movie is a judgement. There’s no such thing as telling a story “as is.” Because everything–from deciding how to light a scene, to angles and framing, to mise en scene, to characterization, to costumes, to camera movement, to every single other formal element you can think of–is a way for the filmmaker to portray (and therefore judge) his subject. As a composite, Scorsese’s stylistic decisions in Wolf are anything but ambiguous; through dramatic framing, bursting backgrounds, and long, interrupted sequences highlighting Belfort’s supposed brilliance (i.e., the preach-y microphone scenes), he doesn’t just portray Belfort’s world “as is,” but actively glorifies it.
On the point of misogyny, I believe there are many films that depict a sexist world while still maintaining a sense of self-awareness. Again, I would argue that there’s no such thing as an “as is” depiction. Off the top of my head, I think of stuff like “Blue Velvet,” where the main character is a prostitute living in a sexist world, but the film itself makes the viewer sympathize with her predicament. Or even Scorsese’s own “The Aviator,” which is another biopic of a superrich American male, but then you have Cate Blanchett’s character, Katharine Hepburn, throwing that world into perspective.
“And haven’t we all been there? Who’s perfect?” –> The problem is, most of us HAVEN’T been there. The movie is asking us to reserve judgment about a man who’s a convicted thief of epic proportions, whose actions have damaged thousands, if not millions, of people’s lives, enabling him to live out a lifestyle that most of us can only dream of. It’s another way of teaching the 99% to not only identify with, but accept & even condone the misadventures of the 1%. This is why I cannot view it as “pure entertainment,” because it’s a form of wealth-praising, capitalist indoctrination.
Just some thoughts. Again, thanks for stopping by to not only read my review, but to actively engage in it! I look forward to seeing yours soon. 🙂
Some excellent points. You’re right there’s always judgement somehow. I think Scorsese however does show the negative aspects and consequences. The thing is that it is a great lifestyle and most people would want that, but it’s not sustainable or realistic. I think the film does a great job in showing that.
Oh! I’ll watch Wolf tonight and then I’ll read this, very curious to hear your take on it. Yesterday my friend told me he wasn’t a fan either (and he was looking forward to it very much).
Good! Please do, and then let me know what you think!
I don’t want to read the whole thing because I haven’t seen it. IT may cloud my judgment. I do however will concur that Leonardo DiCarpio had so many great project. The actor doesn’t just accept and accept any movie offers. He picks the ones that are with substance. I think his peak performances on later years were The Aviator, Catch Me If You Can, The Departed when he was getting issues asking for drugs, and Reservation Road, where he was yelling at Kate Winslet. 😀
You’re right, he is a great actor who makes great decisions about the films he’s in! I also thought he was fantastic in The Departed and The Aviator. I haven’t seen Catch Me if You Can, and Revolutionary Road wasn’t really for me. And he’s always been fantastic, even when he was really young – I still remember his amazing performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape!
A really interesting take on it. I’ll certainly keep what you said in mind when I finally see it
Yes, it’s certainly divisive! I can’t help but think that it’s a form of brainwashing/indoctrination. Perhaps bring a beer so you enjoy it slightly more.
Bravo, and thank you for having the stomach to sit through this so hopefully others will be spared. I may be boycotting “Wolf” on principle (Belfort was sentenced to two years in a country club and naturally has not paid back his victims as ordered by the court) but all that aside–of all the great films out there I could see (and barely have time for) do I really need to witness yet another installment in Scorsese’s embarrassing pre-occupation with rapacious American males? It doesn’t matter how well the movie was made and, based on your review, it’s not very. Your last paragraph is right on the money. I sense that puffed-up Hollywood superstars like Marty feel themselves above criticism and self-control just like financial-sector felons like Jordan Belfort feel themselves to be above the law. Why not, if we let them get away with it? I hope this co-mingling of the Cultural 1% with the Economic-Criminal 1% is not some new trend.
“Scorsese’s embarrassing pre-occupation with rapacious American males” – you said it! It’s funny, because I did quite like “The Aviator,” even though I know it depicted a somewhat similar (filthy rich, disturbingly careless) character. I think what made that film interesting, at least for me, was Howard Hughes’s slow descent into insanity. The OCD aspect of his character was very well done and seemed to balance his earlier carelessness. I don’t think he was necessarily a malicious person, either.
I’m afraid the co-mingling of the Cultural 1% with the Economic-Criminal 1% is already well-estalished, and embodied rather nauseatingly by Harvy Weinstein. Not that his production company hasn’t produced some fantastic films. It’s just insane to think about the amount of power/$$ one man has. I also read Vogue magazine and I see this co-mingling all the time. The division between the world of high fashion and the world of Hollywood is all but invisible at this point; consider, for example, Lupita Nyong’o’s (admittedly perfect) heartbreakingly expensive red-carpet style this awards season. But I’m probably going off on a tangent and discussing a part of celebrity culture you don’t follow.
Thanks again for your comment, and for your support. I had a moment where I thought maybe I was crazy after reading so many positive reviews of “Wolf” online. But then someone living in Absurdistan must always be afraid that they’re going crazy, no?
I agree it was too long though! Haha
Woah!!! Go Alina! That was a fantastic, eloquent and well put argument/review, as good as I am likely to read anywhere. I totally disagree though!
The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the book by Belfort. Apparently there is very little in the movie that didn’t happen in real life. So effectively all Scorsese is doing is showing you the story as it happened. It’s an unsavoury story admittedly, but the only person you can call out for sexism is surely Belfort and his cohorts, as it is based on their exploits. Personally, as I said in response to another persons review, I hated bankers and traders before watching this, and I still do! They all appear to be a bunch of c***s! I also don’t agree that Scorsese should be under any obligation to show the lives of the people Belfort hurt, in some sort of melodramatic montage or something! The film is what it is.
As for the sexism claims, I see your point, but again don’t necessarily agree. Does Scorsese, or any other director for that matter, have an obligation to include at least one strong female character in their films? Goodfellas is the very macho world of organised crime. The Aviator is, again, a biopic of Howard Hughes, so the featured characters presumably are the characters who appeared in that real life story (Katherine Hepburn was a fairly strong presence from what I remember though)? Sometimes films are about a group of guys, sometimes they may be about a group of women. Do we always have to have a mix? American Psycho didn’t 😉
I don’t think the film was ever a satire, just an honest account of what happened in that period of time on Wall Street. I don’t think right minded people will be tempted to follow it’s path, any more than fans of The Fast and the Furious will break speed limits. Give it another go.
As I said at the beginning though, I really thought you put your point across fantastically and intelligently. If you fancy coming over to my blog and reviewing some films please do! You’re better than I am!
haha this is why I said you must be one of the nicest guys on the internet!!! Despite completely disagreeing with me, and posting a comment almost as long as your original review (lol), I still feel super happy overall. I don’t think I review enough comedies. If you’re serious about me doing a guest post sometime on your blog I could focus on one of those instead! haha.
Point #1: I realized that this movie was based on Belfort’s memoir. Honestly, I don’t think he should have been rewarded with a book deal in the first place, the scumbag. But a movie by MARTIN F*ING SCORSESE has a much larger impact that a memoir. So, while the movie may not glorify Belfort, it certainly takes a significant step further in his immortalization. I agree a melodramatic montage would have been ineffective. In fact, it probably would have seemed like an insincere apology/joke in the wider context of the film. BUT Scorsese didn’t have to portray Belfort’s world “as is.” It’s possible to make a biopic and still cast judgement on the person–for better or worse. In this case, with all those scenes where Belfort screams capitalist aphorisms like a Southern preacher in front of an audience screaming hallelujah, I think it’s pretty difficult to misinterpret the fact that Scorsese (and Leo) admired the man.
Point #2: The sexism claim is a hard one for me to defend, precisely because you are definitely very correct in saying that Goodfellas and The Aviator were similar to Wolf in that they depicted worlds that yes, are pretty much run exclusively by men (Cate Blanchett’s role aside). My issue is that Scorsese doesn’t seem to be interested in capturing any other type of world, and that the women in his films really do feel like pretty accessories. (Again, with Blanchett being the exception). This is something that I’ve noticed about a lot of “classic” filmmakers, including Alfred Hitchcock. I LOVE that dude’s crazy films, but the sexism drives me nuts! It kept me from finishing “Rear Window” – I just couldn’t get past the Grace Kelly scene.
Point #3: I brought up satire because Leonardo DiCaprio called the film an “indictment” of the world it portrays, which I don’t think it is. I meant satire more in the sense of hyperbole–i.e., the hyperbolic disgustingness of Belfort’s world should convince everyone that we shouldn’t allow people to get this way. As for it not being tempting, I completely disagree. Every day on my way to the library I walk past the $80,000/year MBA program’s building, where I see would-be-millionaires cavorting with each other over hors’ d’oeuvres and champagne. And maybe I’m reacting to this movie so strongly in part because I’m American, and the financial crash came the year before I graduated from high school and cast a pallor over my 4 years of college (“we’ll never find jobs” -me and my classmates), and many of the people who were responsible for that crash behaved exactly like Jordan Belfort.
Whew. After this, I should listen to some of the great music you’ve been featuring on your blog lately. Over & out.
To justify, without defending, the sexism of the likes of Hitchcock and Scorsese I would say you have to take into account the era they grew up (Scorsese is 71) and/or when their films were made (Hitchcock back in the 50s and 60s). Sexism wouldn’t have even been on anyone’s agenda back then.
As I said in response to another review of Wolf, it’s funny that people have taken such moral outrage against it, yet a film like Goodfellas can contain murder and violence far beyond Wolf and no one could care less.
We can’t agree on everything though, I just think to say Scorsese thinks because if who he is he can do whatever he wants is wrong. He always seems like a decent guy when interviewed.
Now, get watching a comedy and come over to mine and review it!! 😊
What a very thoughtful and thorough analysis! I haven’t seen the film, though I was curious about it and had put it on my to-watch list. I’ll think twice about it now. You’ve just made American Psycho more intriguing by recommending that over The Wolf of Wall Street.
Thank you!! The film is, like I said, definitely hilarious at some points. But I’m afraid that it’s a way of indoctrinating generations of Americans into supporting the status quo–i.e., a system in which the superrich are rewarded despite the fact that many of them indulge in criminal and/or misanthropic behavior.
If you are interested in watching a nuanced character portrayal of a successful American businessman, then I would heartily recommend Scorsese’s “The Aviator” instead. You might have already seen that. It’s really the only Scorsese film apart from “The Departed” that I like.
You don’t like Goodfellas? I always felt like THAT was the movie that should have won best picture. I like it a lot better than “The Departed”.
But seriously, somebody needs to go up to this director and say, “Hey Martin, just because a movie CAN be 3 hours, doesn’t mean it SHOULD be 3 hours.” I sort of felt the same way about “American Hustle”, otherwise known as a 138 commercial about how cool late 70’s iconography was. A fluffy story like that definitely could have been told in 90 minutes.
But I digress…
oh hey! 2nd comment down here… I watched Goodfellas a long time ago, it’s entirely possible that if I watched it again today I would like it better! But generally I don’t really like movies in the “gangster” genre. They’re pretty predictable, and kind of boring despite the violence.