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The ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Debate in a Single Tweet

The 'Wolf of Wall Street' Debate in a Single Tweet

It’s fitting that The Wolf of Wall Street arrived on Christmas Day, not only because, for many — if not most — critics it’s a cinematic treat, but because it’s provoked more great writing than any movie since 12 Years a Slave. There’s Glenn Kenny’s two posts on the film; The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody, who says it’s “like mainlining cinema for three hours”; Christopher Campbell on the student short that laid out Wolf‘s themes 50 years in advance; Farran Smith Nehme, in Barron’s, on the danger of confusing the film’s Jordan Belfort with the real deal; Flavorwire’s Michelle Dean on how the film evokes the dick-swinging fish stories of the business sector; Bilge Ebiri on the disjuncture between the film’s “cosmic aims” and its mundane realities; and, back in The New Yorker, Rachel Syme on why Wolf is a better adaptation of The Great Gatsby than The Great Gatsby

And then there’s Nick Pinkerton, with an epic take on the film in his regular “Bombast” column for Sundance Now. While many have worried about how audiences might react to the film, Pinkerton shares details of how one audience actually did, and cautions, “When we talk about the audience, we should always be talking about ourselves.”

Attacks on the film persist, from critics, from those affected by Belfort’s swindles, and from ordinary moviegoers, who’ve littered the film’s Fandango page with outraged reviews. (One wonders exactly what “drnason,” who says “I walked out of this movie after almost 3 hours, and I never walk out of a movie,” is supposed to have walked out on — the end credits? It recalls the apocryphal story of the moral crusader who said, “I thought it was pornography, but I watched the whole thing just to make sure.”)

By now, a certain level of fatigue has set in, among those who wish they could move past debating whether or not Wolf glorifies Belfort’s actions and discuss the film’s finer points, and among those who have politely made it known they be happy if everyone would just shut up already. So perhaps that’s why Pinkerton, who’s already written so many words about the film, turned to ASCII imagery for his latest comment. Next stop, ground floor.

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