Martin Scorsese's newest film, "The Wolf of Wall Street," is well on the way to being in the black, raking in $63 million since its Christmas opening. But the three-hour sex, drugs and bad behavior-fueled film has moviegoers seeing red thanks to its raw content and record-breaking number of swear words.
Controversy grows over 'Wolf of Wall Street'Play Video
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As TODAY's Craig Melvin noted Monday, while critics are saying the film is Oscar-worthy, audience members are more divided over the subject matter ... and the 506 F-bombs, the most ever uttered in a non-documentary.
"I wanted to crawl out (of) the theater, that's how it made me feel," one viewer said in Melvin's report. And she's not alone. Others are tweeting that they didn't stay for the entire picture.
"'Wolf of Wall Street' is a very entertaining and well-made movie. It's also three hours of sex, drugs, bad language and people just treating each other horribly," said Dave Karger, chief correspondent with Fandango. "That's not what some people want to see, particularly from a Christmas movie."
Scorsese's films are often very R-rated, as the director of classics including "Raging Bull" and "Goodfellas" has never shied away from colorful language, violence or controversy. But for many, "Wolf" seems to glorify, rather than mock the sort of Wall Street excesses that recently plunged the country into a recession.
"This is a ruthless, greedy guy who did whatever he could to make it to the top," said Karger. "Leonardo DiCaprio does not play a likable guy in this movie, and I think that's one of the reasons I think it has become so polarizing."
Star DiCaprio, who plays Jordan Belfort, a real-life investor who went to jail for his stock swindles, defended the role in a Variety interview. "The film may be misunderstood by some. I hope people understand that we're not condoning this behavior, we're indicting it," he said.
Sometimes, though, it can be hard to see the line that separates indicting behavior with celebrating it. Last week, news broke that Belfort may be getting his own reality TV show.