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DiCaprio defends ‘Wolf of Wall Street’

by Talia Lavin, JTA

December 31, 2013 | 9:51 am

Leonardo DiCaprio arrives for the premiere of the film "The Wolf of Wall Street" in New York on Dec. 17. Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Leonardo DiCaprio arrives for the premiere of the film "The Wolf of Wall Street" in New York on Dec. 17. Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Leonardo DiCaprio has responded to critics who say that “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Martin Scorsese’s new flick about Wall Street bankers getting reckless in the ’90s, condones the horrible behavior of its characters.

In the film, DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a real-life stockbroker (raised by two Jewish accountants) who partied hard and defrauded clients. After being convicted of stock fraud and forced to pay restitution to victims, Belfort wrote a memoir on which the film is based.

[Related: 'The Wolf of Wall Street's' Jewish problem]

The movie delves deeply into Belfort’s party-boy lifestyle, with its drugs, yachts and doing drugs on yachts — not to mention his scornful attitudes toward women (the movie contains a marital rape scene). To some critics, Scorsese’s glamorous portrayal was tantamount to an endorsement of Belfort’s behavior, which cost his clients millions.

“This film may be misunderstood by some,” DiCaprio told Variety. “I hope people understand we’re not condoning this behavior, that we’re indicting it. The book was a cautionary tale and if you sit through the end of the film, you’ll realize what we’re saying about these people and this world, because it’s an intoxicating one.”

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