'The Wolf of Wall Street': Does Controversy Help?
The Wolf of Wall Street hasn't exactly suffered from the controversy.
Martin Scorsese is no stranger to controversy (see 1988's The Last Temptation of Christ), but you'd hardly expect a 71-year-old director to be accused of glorifying sex and drugs on-screen. And yet, stories of audience outcry have been swirling since his new movie The Wolf of Wall Street started screening for awards voters. Read our review of the movie here.
Jonah Hill [L] and Leonardo Dicaprio [R] in 'The Wolf of Wall Street'
Both Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio have been quick to point out that the film never glamorises the excesses depicted in the film. DiCaprio has said that he thinks people who say the film glorifies wild sex and drug abuse have "missed the boat entirely".
And the controversy certainly hasn't hurt the film's box office takings in North America, where it has proved hugely popular despite its three-hour running time and restrictive R rating. But audiences seem more intrigued than put off when they hear that the film had to be edited to avoid the disastrous NC-17 rating, that Academy Awards voters have shouted in derision at awards screenings, or that the film now holds the record for the most uses of the f-word in a single movie (at more than 500).
Perhaps all of this brouhaha is just a distraction from the real target of the film's themes: the unruly financial industry, which is still stealing cash from people who can't afford to lose it.
Whatever, it hasn't hurt the film's Oscar chances, as it landed top nominations for best picture, director, screenplay, actor and supporting actor. The film is currently opening across Europe and Australia, and is expected to storm the global box office over the coming weeks.