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Scorsese’s Big Bad “Wolf” Blockbuster Causes Controversy

By Alyssa Seidman
Assistant News Editor

Although Martin Scorcese’s latest film picked up five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture of the Year, “The Wolf of Wall Street’s” scandalized plot line and depictions of excess in sex, drugs, and stock trading shocked and awed audiences worldwide. 

The movie is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), a New York based stockbroker who goes from rags to extreme riches after establishing his own firm and engaging in securities fraud and corruption on Wall Street during the ‘90s. The storyline follows Stratton Oakmont’s (the name of the firm) anything, but humble beginnings as Belfort and his partners enjoy an endless parade of mixing business with pleasure in the form of lavish parties, prostitutes, and drug abuse.

 “The Wolf of Wall Street” received positive reviews from critics, but is also controversial for its moral ambiguity, prevalent drug usage, and outrageously cringe worthy sex situations. The “F” word is used in the film exactly 569 times in its three hour run time–the most profanity that has been used in cinematic history. Some countries have even gone so far as to ban the film from its media, like Malaysia, Nepal and Kenya.

Post students have mixed opinions of the film. “It was a great movie,” said Josh Sutphen, a freshman Nutrition major. “[But it’s] definitely [better suited] for adult audiences. Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio were so funny and had great chemistry together. I would definitely see it again,” Sutphen added.

“I thought it was very vulgar and exaggerated with the party scenes and drug abuse,” said Laren Lipari, a freshman Radiology major. “But DiCaprio was perfect in it, he can play any character.” DiCaprio has been lauded for his acting work in the film, winning the Best Actor award at the Golden Globes last month.

“Personally, I’m kind of split on the whole thing,” admitted Tina Marie Bonsangue, a freshman Pre-Law major. “I think it was an excellent movie in one sense because the actors were phenomenal in portraying their roles. DiCaprio had a great transition from naive broker to the face of corruption.”

“I feel it should have been more restricted,” Bonsangue said. “You have immature 17-year-olds, maybe even younger, viewing this movie as nothing but an inspiration, and [they’re] taking [the concepts of] money and power and sex and drugs at a face value rather than [considering] the consequences of what happened. I feel the older generations would appreciate the movie [more] for the actual message,” she added.

“Speaking as a 19-year-old fuddy-duddy, I have a problem when directors feel like they need to add a whole bunch of sex and violence to their films to tell a story–more likely to sell tickets really,” said Jacob Schmotzer, a freshman English and Education major. “While I do not believe films like [“The Wolf of Wall Street”] should be banned or censored, I do wish that more directors would return to the types of movies that were [produced] during Hollywood’s golden age. Films back then were still marketed towards adults, yet they were somehow more intelligent, more tasteful, and certainly more subtle in a way that made you think.”

“The Wolf of Wall Street” has enjoyed blockbuster status since its release back in December, racking up big at the box office as well as collecting numerous distinctions during the 2014 awards season. With this continued excellence following the film’s controversial legacy, it is something moviegoers will be raving and ranting about for years to come. 

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