I gotta say, the new year has started off pretty well. The Wolf of Wall Street was released on January 3rd, and since nobody would come with me, I went alone for the movie (hey, don’t judge). The movie is- for lack of a better word- mind-blowingly awesome. And I wish Dad would go see it. Of course, the only time he watches a Hollywood movie is when I explain a bit of the plot to him, make sure the movie has subtitles, and keep saying “Watch now! Just see what happens! Are you watching?” every time his attention starts faltering. It is a lot of effort. And I would do that with The Wolf of Wall Street too, except that I couldn’t sit through the thing with him beside me. The movie has the word ‘fuck’ a record-breaking 506 times (Fuck!). And there are scenes that left me wide-eyed, one hand tightly clasped over mouth, thinking, “Oh my God, how did the Censor board let this through?” And yes, I saw the clean, Indianproof version. The Wolf of Wall Street has managed to piss off a lot of people. The reaction to the movie everywhere has been in extremes. There is one side which can not stop gushing about its awesomeness (Example: Me), and there’s the other side which believes the movie is vulgar and crass and “glorifies greed”. Richard Corliss of TIME magazine, in his review, says the moviekeeps bathing in amorality until it drowns. True. The movie makes abusing drugs and crashing a Ferrari look funny. When Leo crumpled up a hundred-dollar bill and threw it in trash- you know, just for amusement- all I could think was, “God, he’s cool.” When Leo’s Dad yells at him for spending $26000 on ONE dinner, I was laughing uncontrollably (“The sides! Tell him about the sides!“). Getting stoned and dry-humping air hostesses, saying every possible derivative of ‘fuck’, abusing quaaludes and cocaine, throwing money off yachts (at FBI agents, no less)… Martin Scorsese makes everything look GOOD.
See, that’s the point these critics are making. That the movie is void of ethics, of any morality whatsoever. So what? What’s wrong with being greedy? What’s wrong with being ambitious? The movie is exactly like its protagonist. Open. Unabashed. Doesn’t give a shit about what people think. Honestly, all those “pep talks” that Leo gives to his employees- asking them to be “telephone fucking terrorists”… they don’t make you cringe, they don’t disgust you… they make you think “Fuck. I gotta work. I gotta start dialing.” He works on the basest human emotion: greed. He uses greed as the prime motivator to work. And why shouldn’t it be that way? After all, who wouldn’t want a life like that? I certainly would. Offer the same life to the critics who said the movie “glorified greed” and let’s see if they turn their backs on it. The point is, everybody wants to be rich. If you’re one of those who believe in being content with what you have, that money isn’t the key to happiness, sure, good for you. But you have to admit that money makes life easier. So why deny it? There’s nothing wrong with loving money, or wanting a good, a better lifestyle. The problem arises only when one chooses to get it through illegal ways- and that is definitely not what the movie encourages. If you see it that way, well… rethink. Or better, watch it again.
In fact, DiCaprio’s little speeches in the movie remind me of Alec Baldwin’s fiery speech in Glengarry Glen Ross (he plays a sales executive). Take a look:
Did the video make you hate Baldwin’s guts? Or did it inspire you to get off your ass and start working? Think about it.
I’ll end this with one of my favorite dialogues from The Wolf of Wall Street (I wish I had a video clip, but it isn’t up yet):
“Let me tell you something. There is no nobility in poverty. I’ve been a rich man, and I’ve been a poor man, and I choose to be rich every fucking time! ‘Coz at least as a rich man, when I have to face my problems, I show up in the back of a limo, wearing a $2000 suit, and a $14000 gold fucking watch.”
So, Mr. Scorsese, take a bow. You did a fucking brilliant job on the movie.