Leonardo DiCaprio plays the perfect Jordan Belfort, a good-looking criminal with enough charisma to carry on his corruption for an alarmingly long period of time. The details of his schemes take a backseat to his antics, most notably his use of hookers, drugs, parties, and cartoonish purchases. Bad behavior can be hypnotic to watch, especially when it’s this ridiculous. After all, we’re all voyeurs, and if we’re not participating in the criminal activity, is it wrong to view it from afar? That question brings me to the moral component of this review.
Jordan Belfort is a real person, and the studio bought the rights to his self-penned story that he wrote from prison. In fact, there’s controversy as to whether Belfort is delivering on his obligation to repay his victims, with sources claiming he’s only paid back $10 million of his $100 million debts. While The Wolf of Wall Street is certainly an enjoyable cinematic experience with impressive performances from its stars, it’s morally questionable to pay a criminal for his story. What if the studio paid a blue collar criminal for an equally entertaining story? Where’s the line? And because the story is such a hypnotic look inside the gluttonous greed of Belfort, it begs the question of whether we’re glorifying his antics. Before you explore that, take some time to watch interviews with Belfort himself, who seems less than contrite. Perhaps if the post-prison Belfort seemed a tad more reformed, this would sit more calmly with me. I have more questions than answers, but my stars for this review are based on the film itself. The surrounding controversy is for you to judge.
RATING: 4/5 STARS