|DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort|
Critics are torn on whether Scorsese is satirising the outrageous behavior he portrays on the screen or celebrating it.
Belfort, portrayed by Golden Globe nominee Leonardo Di Caprio, gets off with a slap on the wrist for his crimes, and the film never takes a pronounced stance about his blatantly fraudulent schemes and his lifestyle of sex and excess.
Even before the film's release Scorsese was on the receiving end of an attack following a screening at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when a female Oscar voter yelled "Shame!" at him.
The People magazine critic wrote: “There’s nothing exotic or empathetic about a bunch of scheming, loathsome creeps given a whole movie in which to play (again) on our dime. There are no wages of sin on this ‘Street’ – in fact, it looks like sin pays pretty damned well.”
Joe Morgenstern at the Wall Street Journal called the film “three hours of incessant shouting and sensationally bad behavior … It’s meant to be an entertaining, even meaningful representation of the penny-stock maestro’s life and times. But I couldn’t buy it, and couldn’t wait for the hollow spectacle to end.”
Scorsese freely admits his film is brutal, acknowledging that it is definitely “not for everyone’s taste.”
and “It’s not made for 14 year olds."
DiCaprio has spoken up for Wolf of Wall Street, saying: “I hope people understand we’re not condoning this behavior, that we’re indicting it. The book was a cautionary tale and if you sit through the end of the film, you’ll realise what we’re saying about these people and this world, because it’s an intoxicating one."