I don’t care if a book or a movie is based on someone’s life, if it’s not good it’s not good. But then when a horde of people and critics see the film or read the book and decide it’s worthwhile, I’m completely flummoxed. Then it’s Oscar time and the hit movie based on the hit book has a host of nominations I just have to slap myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.
Yet, that’s exactly what happened with the piece of dreck that is The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Usually I have no problem with Leo’s characters, even the smarmy character he embodied in Gangs of New York, or even the ill-fated artist from Titanic. I even got on board with his portrayal of the enigmatic Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby. So I had no worries about him taking on the role of a wall street honcho who was down and out and came back stronger.
At first glance it seemed like a film about redemption, about a guy with a dream who makes it happen. Sure, I expected him to be unscrupulous… when it came to business. But what I discovered instead, after only about 20 minutes of watching the film, was that he was completely unscrupulous in every single facet of his life. Now, maybe it’s just the way the director chose to portray the man, but if it was, then I am sorely disappointed in the director.
How did this movie even become an Oscar contender? More importantly, how did it even escape the dreaded NC-17 rating films with similar examples of unconventional sex, bondage, and violence, not to mention all the nudity and foul language. I felt like I was watching a porn film, honestly, instead of a big budget Hollywood film, and I found myself wondering what was it about the narrative and the situations on film that made any critic think this was fascinating or worthwhile in any way.
I kept watching, like a driver who sees a car wreck and cranes his neck around to see it for as long as he can, even though it was bizarrely grotesque and it did not get any better. That’s maybe what I was expecting. The main character would reveal that it was all a horrendous dream. “Now here’s the real story…” and it would be a tale not unlike the classic stocks and bonds tale, Wall Street. Where’s Charlie Sheen when you need him?
The movie was not good. Leo may well have acted out a wonderfully accurate portrayal of Jordan Belfort, but I never saw it through to the end because I couldn’t get past how disgusting and shallow it all was. Which I’m sure was the point, but at what point does it fit into the category of beating a dead horse? For me that point was 32 minutes in.
And I’m sorry I waited that long.