This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Rick Dabagian’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
The Wolf of Wall Street does not glorify the actions of Jordan Belfort and the rest of his crew. End of review.
No, not the end, I'll explain.
After reading many varying opinions of this film, I wasn't sure what to expect. Well, I was expecting more blurred grey lines about the real life events, and more graphic explicit scenes. That's all fugazi. Maybe my expectations were skewed, but that's not what I saw.
In fact, just FIVE minutes into the film we see Matthew Mcconaughey rip down the entire financial industry. No, he isn't referring specifically to Belfort's schemes, but he says the whole stock game is a scam! And people somehow go on to believe that the film condones the more severe illegitimate and illegal actions? Come on now... At the center of the film is greed. And stupidity. The final scene of the film, with post-prison-Belfort still pitching seminars, ending with the faces of the audience staring back at us, is perhaps the most damning part of the film, if you are so inclined to pick it apart. The scene tells us that we are greedy, and that is a true fact. It can also say that we should take some responsibility, and you can argue that it's saying we should take some blame in Belfort's scam. If you want to dissect that, go ahead. But none of the actions in the film are excused.
What did Scorcese set out to do with this film? I think the only thing he wanted to do was entertain us for three hours. No huge message, positive or negative. Just make a film that kept people's attention and that was fun to watch. Is that a crime? Think of all the violence we see in film/tv today. Suddenly we are up in arms against these white-collar crimes? Just for being portrayed in film? Oh, it's for the treatment of women? Look, people in general are rather dumb. This means lots of men are dumb. And lots of men treat women poorly, and like objects. Immoral men do this more often, perhaps. The characters in the film are immoral and they are sex-obsessed, but I must have missed the part where the film is insensitive to women. The men are just as gross and shallow. Society has a double standard in this sense, but the film didn't exploit that in my opinion. There are no strong women roles in the film, but that's a problem with film, not just this film.
There's not a single character in the film that is likable. Yet it is still entertaining, and even though it should have been shorter, it doesn't feel three hours long. I was never bored, nor are there any great scenes. The film is a comedy, and it worked for me on a first watch. Anything more, I can't say yet, but it's a solid film. Maybe disappointing for a Scorcese, yeah, and a mystery why he made it, but who knows. Maybe he's trying to stay young, or just have some fun. You can imagine it was a fun movie to make, if you can remember they aren't doing these things in real life...It's a movie.
Jonah Hill was great I thought. Probably the most despicable character but so hilarious. Oh, one other valid critique might be the use of "fag" throughout the film. I'm sure in real life it was even worse, but I can see people being put off. If you're going to take offense at things, that's justified. The rest of the cast was fine, Leo was fine. All the Rob Reiner stuff should have been cut, even though he was fine too.
Ok, have at it