The Wolf of Wall Street made more than $116 million at the U.S. box office — and twice that overseas — even with a running time of three hours.
It received Oscar nominations bud didn't win any. It remains a deeply flawed film, and the reasons should be evident this week when it arrives on disc ($29.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray/DVD/digital combo).
DiCaprio stars as the avaricious Belfort, building a huge fortune on the backs of investors unaware that the stocks peddled by Belfort and his associates are trash — and that their investment will buy the scammers mansions, yachts and custom cars, not to mention quantities of drugs and sexual excess beyond ordinary imagination.
The movie is a companion of sorts to Scorsese's Goodfellas, with DiCaprio filling the amoral, greedy shoes of Ray Liotta. DiCaprio's Belfort is clearly a criminal among criminals, a character we don't admire but nonetheless find fascinating. It also deliberately echoes Oliver Stone's Wall Street, even having Belfort deliver a speech similar to the "greed is good" monologue in Stone's movie.
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But The Wolf of Wall Street seems to want us to admire Belfort in some sneaky way.
Sure, we see Belfort nose-deep in drugs, at risk to his own life. Sure, we see that even when prison looms, he loves his game and success too much to walk quietly away. But DiCaprio makes Belfort a charismatic, spellbinding figure, someone who can lead almost anyone into the least ethical circumstances with the promise of gain and the chance to be just like him.
The Wolf of Wall Street is at times painfully overlong, seemingly convinced that there's one viewer in the back row who has not yet gotten the point. I have to stop short of calling it a terrible film — but I can assure you that it is a terribly unsatisfying one.
The DVD and Blu-ray contain only one extra: a making-of piece.