No one should admire the exploitation movie headlining Leonardo DiCaprio as “the Wolf of Wall Street” who holds a false fixed grin for three hours, selling us, inviting us to share the life of a greedy, sex-crazed sociopathic stockbroker, who dupes naïve middle class investors to buy worthless stocks so that DiCaprio’s character can live in a mansion, and have a helicopter, trophy wife, yacht, prostitutes galore, countless lines of coke, morphine, and endless quantities of Quaaludes.
One movie reviewer claimed the movie was “lethally hilarious.”
There’s nothing “hilarious” about porn, drug addiction, prostitution and marathon boiler rooms stealing from hard-working middle class “marks,” all the time glorifying the thugs in suits that laugh at their off-camera victims. This movie is not “ordinary” movie fare; its aim is unrelenting painful excess that some mistake for the American dream.
The lead FBI agent who pursues DiCaprio’s criminal character, is featured in one of the movie’s final scenes, a disparaging setting, riding anonymously home on the Manhattan IRT with other working “stiffs” – underscoring DiCaprio’s earlier accusation in the flick that the Agent led a sorry life riding the subway home to an ugly wife (whom DiCaprio didn’t know to describe) while DiCaprio stood high and mighty on the deck of his lily white yacht throwing greenbacks at the agent.
When DiCaprio is arrested, he “rats” on his associates, and weasels his way out of prison in 22 months, the cost in custody of his corrupt “business,” to build his next fortune including the two books that he wrote in real life that “inspired” this “blockbuster” movie.
In this movie, there’s a Quaalude party that DiCaprio convenes at his mansion with his partner, played by Jonah Hill; they pop so many Quaaludes they nearly die.
Terrence Winter, the film’s screen writer, says this scene is so funny, that “DiCaprio and Hill on drugs rival Laurel and Hardy.” Talk about twisted. Mr. Winter “spins” this dark and toxic drug fest pretending a near death drug experience is a thigh slapper in order to get us to buy a ticket to his show.
Jonah Hill admits, “I was disgusted by what I was doing!” Among the gross acts Jonah “did” was to “pleasure himself” at a party amidst watching bystanders while he fixed his onanistic gaze on the woman who became DiCaprio’s trophy wife (after DiCaprio kicked his first wife to the curb). DiCaprio is equally disgusting when he man-handles a flight attendant the way a disobedient Fido might.
Martin Scorsese, the Director, admits, “People can take their identification with movies and novels to some alarming places.” But Leonardo and Martin are not concerned whence their viewers go after the movie, whether “alarming” or not, as long as they go to the movie in the first place to justify the $90 million they spent making this flick.
Movies often lag the cultural context that movie makers believe makes their product saleable.
Martin and Leonardo appear to have read the nation accurately.
As a nation, we have become insensitive to schemers, personal affronts, invasions of the most personal privacy as our elected figures, pundits, shock jocks, among others, recklessly publish whatever comes into their head, including the most hurtful and unfounded accusations, entirely indifferent to good taste, accuracy, compassion or privacy.
DiCaprio compared his movie to Roman Emperor Caligula’s reign. Caligula inflicted pain and death, acted unjustly, looted the public treasury, and engaged in all manner of sexual misconduct.
DiCaprio said his movie was “a modern-day Caligula, the height of debauchery.”
Is the face of our nation truly mirrored in DiCaprio’s distasteful art – a nation at the height of debauchery? Perhaps we fall short of the heights he claims. But we’d do well to start by dialing back on our toxic dialogue or risk doing to our nation what Caligula did to his.