Summary

  • The Wolf of Wall Street received both acclaim and criticism upon its release for not taking a moral stand on Jordan Belfort’s behavior.
  • Some critics argued that the film glorified Belfort’s actions and lacked sympathy for the victims, while others saw it as a satirical takedown.
  • Director Martin Scorsese, known for his approach of presenting stories honestly, finds the criticism of the film’s morality to be “beyond boring.”


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The Wolf of Wall Street director Martin Scorsese responds to the prevalent criticism that the film fails to take a moral stance on its subject. Based on Jordan Belfort’s memoir of the same name, the 2013 film follows Leonardo DiCaprio as the stockbroker whose firm, Stratton Oakmont, engaged in rampant corruption and fraud on Wall Street. Despite receiving mostly positive reviews, The Wolf of Wall Street was considered controversial among critics for its perceived failure to condemn Belfort’s behavior.

Now, a decade after the film’s release, Scorsese responded to the criticism that The Wolf of Wall Street doesn’t take a moral stand on Belfort.

During an “epic conversation” with Timothée Chalamet for GQ, the director says he just learned about the controversy recently and shared a critic’s response to the particular criticism. Asked by Chalamet if this “moralistic attitude bores” him, Scorsese responded, “It’s beyond boring.” Read his full comments below:

I only learned the other day from an interviewer who said, “You’re not aware of the war of Wolf of Wall Street?” So I said, “What are you talking about.” They said, “Well, there was a big screening at Paramount of the picture, for the critics in New York.” Apparently, I was told this, there were two camps, one camp that loved the picture and the other camp that was furious, saying I didn’t take a moral stand on Jordan Belfort. And one of the critics from the other group that liked the picture said, “Do you really need Martin Scorsese to tell you that that’s wrong?” You really need him to tell you that’s wrong? He knows it’s wrong… it’s beyond boring, I think.

Related: The Wolf of Wall Street Ending Explained


The Wolf Of Wall Street Controversy Explained

Kyle Chandler and Leonardo DiCaprio in the arrest scene in The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street was met with widespread acclaim and some moral censure from critics upon its release in 2013. As Scorsese explains, the critics were divided into two camps – those who squarely praised the film and those who felt it failed to take a moral stand on its subject. The film’s detractors argued that it glorified Belfort’s behavior. At the time of its release, DiCaprio defended The Wolf of Wall Street, saying that the film is not meant to glorify the excessive lifestyle it depicts. Others have defended the film as a satirical takedown of its subject.

For those familiar with Scorsese’s approach, his reaction to the Wolf of Wall Street controversy is unsurprising. Similar to Goodfellas and his upcoming film Killers of the Flowers Moon, Scorsese prefers to present the story as honestly as possible without moralizing, and he respects his audience enough to allow them to form their own value judgments. Scorsese’s response to the Wolf of Wall Street controversy, albeit a decade later, emphasizes his approach to presenting stories as honestly as possible, which has sometimes been misinterpreted as irrelevance.

Source: GQ

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