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Leonardo DiCaprio Says 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' Is "Not Condoning This Behavior...We’re Indicting It"

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist December 31, 2013 at 9:50AM

As Movies.com notes, "The Counselor," "The Family," "The Last Exorcism Part II," "Movie 43," "The Purge," "Runner Runner" and "Scary Movie 5" are the only movies this year that managed a lower grade than the C+ CinemaScore recently earned by "The Wolf Of Wall Street." It's hardly the kind of company you'd expect to find the latest film from Martin Scorsese included with, but then again, nothing about 'Wolf' meets ordinary expectations.
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The Wolf Of Wall Street

As Movies.com notes, "The Counselor," "The Family," "The Last Exorcism Part II," "Movie 43," "The Purge," "Runner Runner" and "Scary Movie 5" are the only movies this year that managed a lower grade than the C+ CinemaScore recently earned by "The Wolf Of Wall Street." It's hardly the kind of company you'd expect to find the latest film from Martin Scorsese included with, but then again, nothing about 'Wolf' meets ordinary expectations. 

Despite largely positive reviews from critics, a backlash of sorts has started to greet the movie for its party atmosphere that does much to shine the light on the antics of Jordan Belfort and his fellow Wall Street sleazebags, and little on the actual victims of his frauds. The daughter of one of Belfort's real life colleagues even penned an open letter recently, shaming the filmmakers for turning Belfort's crimes into R-rated entertainment, for what she perceived was very little consideration for the innocent people who wound up paying the price. 

And with some criticism now swirling, Leonardo DiCaprio has responded, insisting that the three hour movie doesn't celebrate the actions of the man he portrays. “This film may be misunderstood by some; I hope people understand we’re not condoning this behavior, that we’re indicting it," he told Variety. "The book was a cautionary tale and if you sit through the end of the film, you’ll realize what we’re saying about these people and this world, because it’s an intoxicating one. I think it’s amazing somebody like Martin Scorsese is still making films that are vital and talked about, and have an element of controversy about them and are appealing to people of my generation. We grew up watching his films and he’s still making stuff that’s punk rock. It’s an amazing achievement.”

Speaking with Deadline, DiCaprio—who is also a producer on the picture—elaborated on why so much of the film is spent on sex, drugs and debauchery. "Number one, because we didn’t want to take a traditional approach to this film. Number two, we very consciously wanted this to be an analysis of the temptation and intoxication of the world of money and indulgence and hedonism," the actor explained. "We wanted to take the audience on that journey, and so we don’t ever see the wake of that destruction until the very end, where they implode. It was a very conscious decision on our part, so the experience would be almost like taking a drug. To me, if you’re an audience member, you want to be completely submerged in the actual film." 

And if you are one of the bros who totally loves the movie because of its wild ways, you might not be getting it. "We wanted it to be from these peoples’ perspective, an understanding of the very nature of who these people are, and why this can be so intoxicating and so exciting for them. By no means is this film a glorification or some sort of promotion of this lifestyle and those who say it is are missing the point entirely," DiCaprio stated.

So, when does the movie pause to acknowledge that Jordan Belfort's methods have horrifying repercussions? Even Leonardo DiCaprio missed it at first. "We wanted people specifically to understand the mindset. During that time period, none of those guys gave a crap about who they were screwing over. They only cared about themselves and their own hedonistic enjoyment and the accumulation of more wealth, and giving into any possible indulgence. Yes, Marty brilliantly holds onto that shot of the woman, holding a bundle of money in her hand with half of her head shaved off. He kept holding on that and only after the fifth viewing did I say, wow, those are his subtle ways of reminding us about our actions," the actor revealed, before once again adding that 'Wolf' does not make any apologies for what it depicts.

"We’ve seen hundreds of movies that have a much more traditional approach to this [kind of material]. I’m sorry for anyone who may misinterpret that, but this is absolutely an indictment of this world and a cautionary tale. More than that, it’s something that is in the very fabric of our culture, the very fabric of the United States. That, to me, is a powerful film. It is exploring human nature."

Thoughts? Does "The Wolf Of Wall Street" spend enough time showing the consequences or is it too caught up in throwing midgets and doing blow? Let us know below after this latest clip from the film.

This article is related to: The Wolf of Wall Street , Leonardo DiCaprio


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