Leonardo DiCaprio has used this entire awards season to raise awareness about Global Warming, and his Oscar speech was no different. In fact, DiCaprio told the press that winning the Oscar was especially important because he could use a very wide audience to educate the public on the perils of our warming planet. But there’s a very significant contradiction looming over the A-listers speech, and it involves his questionable methods of travel. While he might encourage others to lighten their carbon load, ‘The Revenant’ star is doing no such thing. His preference for private jets was exposed in the Sony hacks, which indicated that he used the planet-warming travel choice six times in just six weeks. If you’re wondering what this means, the Essential Action and the Institute for Policy Studies indicate that “an hour of flying a private jet burns as much fuel as an entire year of driving a car.” Another study suggests that “flying turns out to be on average 50 times worse than driving in terms of a five-year warming impact.” DiCaprio’s Prius can’t possibly plug that leak. Global warming certainly a serious issue, and its great that shined a light on it. But he’s also a hypocrite, as are most people, that hypocrisy might warm our planet.
There’s a cinematic and a moral component to this review, and I’ll begin with the former. The Wolf of Wall Street tells the tale of famed crook Jordan Belfort, who made a fortune with white collar theft. Belfort began his corrupt career by taking a commission off penny stock sales to poor people, only to unload the inflated stock immediately prior to its plight. This “pump and dump” scheme ultimately escalated to the rich, making Belfort a bloated, multi-millionaire. 95% of the film follows his depraved journey to the top, and only 5% depicts his downfall.
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.
A director and his muse make for a must-see power-pairing, and Scorsese and DiCaprio always deliver. In fact, DiCaprio has made no secret of his film selections, which are often exclusively motivated by the director on board. Watch below to see the trailer for ‘Wolf of Wall Street,’ and to get a sneak peak of Matthew McConaughey, who will likely reprise his scene-stealing comedic streak.
I’m not sure I need to explain again how I think 3D is an absolute abomination. And post-production 3D is even worse. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s basically when filmmakers are too lazy or inexperienced to use the heavy-duty 3D cameras, so they instead film everything the way they know how, and then once the film is complete, they convert it to 3D. Translation? — It looks even worse (if that’s possible). And just to drive the knife deeper into my heart, Titanic will now be re-released in 3D to commemorate its 100 year anniversary. I’m sure James Cameron is crying in the fetal position upon hearing the news. Though Cameron started this 3D debacle, he took years to develop the proper cameras to shoot Avatar. Since Avatar, oodles of studio executives are feebly attempting to duplicate his success, because studio executives are greedy monsters with no artistic integrity. I’d like to close this post with one last inquiry/complaint. Will the size of that board that Leonardo DiCaprio failed to utilize at the end of Titanic look even larger in 3D? It still infuriates me that he couldn’t share it with Kate. Seriously — that board was super big. Couldn’t they spoon on it or something?