For all its drudgery, the word that best describes Wolf‘s approach to its debauchery is “gleeful.” Perhaps the filmmakers really did approach the story with a “holy crap, look what this guy did!” mentality and let the chips fall where they may, but in the era in which the film has been released, with many of its criminals paying no real price for their crimes, and with the shadow of a much harsher economic reality dividing the United States into two vastly unequal halves, The Wolf of Wall Street seems crass, unconsidered, and brutish. Just like Jordan himself.
It is extremely difficult to find an article, review, or any other type of writing that I feel treats The Wolf of Wall Street fairly. This is compounded by the fact that I utterly refuse to see the film when even those who have no problem with most any film filled with all manner of graphic sex are blanching a bit at the debauchery depicted. It remains a mystery to me how a film that is by all accounts full of hard core pornography got by with an “R” rating and not an NC-17.
Scorsese has traditionally adopted a less-is-more approach to onscreen sexual excess, and a no-*******-way approach to actual, emotion-driven love scenes. Here, though, he opens an early sequence with a confusing shot of a pair of flesh-coloured globes which, after a moment or two, resolve into the twin *** cheeks of a hooker in the “face down, *** up” position, while Jordan either does lines of coke out of her *******, or drinks from her ****** with a straw, or something. I don’t remember. Honestly, it was a lot of sex.
Yeah, see what I mean?
But back to the point of a fair treatment. In the paragraph I first quoted, Matt describes the approach to debauchery as gleeful, and that does seem to be a fair assessment — again based on what I can glean. Then he starts talking about “criminals paying no real price for their crimes, and with the shadow of a much harsher economic reality dividing the United States into two vastly unequal halves” and immediately I call everything he’s saying into question. I’m sure by now all you regular readers know and understand that I am not liberal in my political views. Matt’s assumption is that the liberal view is the correction one, therefore making that much money is obscene. Whereas I would question his lifestyle and the way in which he made the money, not the making of the money. Regardless of your political persuasion (which I usually try to keep quiet here on MovieByte), you have to admit that Matt seems a bit careless here.
In any event, I do recommend giving this article a read. Be aware though that he does use frank language in describing a film that is morally debauched.
It is unfortunate. The films of Scorsese’s that I have seen to date are films that I have liked a whole lot. His approach to showing the moral bankruptcy and debauchery in films like Goodfellas, and The Aviator was spot on in my opinion. The departure in this manner of The Wolf of Wall Street is a blight on his career.