I love how this review of The Wolf of Wall Street tries to point out some inferiority in the film but only ends up stating why this new Scorsese joint is one of the best films of the year. There’s nothing familiar about the way Wolf portrays its peculiarly one-percenter story—
This movie teaches that thieving pays off; drugs solve problems; the bad guys always win and the good guys always end up looking like schnooks. This movie doesn’t moralize. It simply (gloriously) presents you with a point of view— that of the titular Wolf: a heartless, money-grubbing, whoring, drug-addled, captain of non-industry who made millions stealing away with the money of lower- and middle-class people. The movie shows you how this man lived and how he never really paid for his ruinous lifestyle. It’s a perfect allegory for a certain subset of America, and it’s honestly told. Though there are large sections of the movie that can be revolting or downright scary, the movie’s not a cautionary tale.
For example, it seemed like no one died when they were supposed to. You know how regular movies show you a lifestyle and it’s clearly bad— the visuals are grimy and dark, the music sounds strained, and characters who do bad things have bad ends? That doesn’t happen here. Other movies with similarly dark subject matter would have had the characters suffer and change— in the usual Hollywood movie, an overdose would cause death or a complete 180 in character. In Wolf, an overdose means hilarity ensues (albeit an extremely uncomfortable brand of hilarity. See the movie in theaters; you’ll know what I mean). In a Hollywood movie, driving a car with your small child in the front seat while you’re strung out would end with an impossibly small coffin and gut-wrenching, emotional music. In Wolf, you just lose custody.
In the end, this guy, the Wolf, gets 3 years in what is essentially a country club with barbed wire. Afterwards he gets a lucrative career as a motivational speaker. How many felons who aren’t Martha Stewart get to bounce back like that?