Or maybe it doesn't.
It is sort of frightening to imagine the various interpretations people might take from this film. One critic I read described it as a "morality play." I am fairly certain this person does not know what a morality play is. There is no moral here (nor does there have to be) but this is just such a meandering mess about one of a million swindlers from the last big Wall Street scam you would hope for SOME sort of focus. Others seem to just think it is a rollicking good time. If it is supposed to be that? It sure is a peculiar subject matter.
What you get here are a bunch of good actors in a good looking film that is sometimes funny, sometimes outrageous and way, way, way, way way longer than is necessary. It would have been appropriate to use several more "ways" in the previous sentence. It is never boring despite its flaws and the actors all do--at LEAST--the best they can with their given roles.
Leonardo DiCaprio does his best scenery chewing and coked-up speechifying and Jonah Hill adds to the camp with his fake big teeth as DiCaprio's second banana. Matthew McConaughey, Jon Bernthal and Rob Reiner are all sort of memorable in their roles despite limited screen time. Some seem to be bending over backwards to praise Margot Robbie too. She is fine but I expect this praise has a lot to do with her nakedness in this particular film. And yes, she looks great naked.
It is odd that in a film this long some characters appear with little intro and development. Is it possible ANYTHING landed on the cutting room floor here? But then this is an odd film. It is like Goodfellas on Wall Street--but with a lot more "direct into the camera"asides.
But no one is perfect and while The Wolf of Wall Street is off and on entertaining it also is long, meandering and sort of pointless. It is at least as frustrating as it is entertaning. There is also something missing here--any look at the people swindled by DiCaprio's Jordan Belfort. This is also likely purposeful but why? How do we have context--even in the humor--of what is going on here if we see only the coke snorting good times of the swindlers? And why so many pep talks and speeches to the "troops"? It really gets to be grating.
It is possible this is a movie that will age well? But I wouldn't bet on it. Oscar nominations all around! It is Scorsese but it really shouldn't win anything except the Oscar for "film that easily could have been an hour shorter."