POSTED: Saturday, January 4, 2014 - 12:00pm
UPDATED: Saturday, January 4, 2014 - 12:04pm
(CNN) — Leonardo DiCaprio has a message for those who think his latest film "The Wolf of Wall Street" glorifies greed or condones the actions of those who bilked investors out of money: you have "missed the boat entirely."
The actor gave an interview to HitFix in which he spoke out about the controversy and criticism surrounding the Martin Scorsese directed film.
"It's exciting to be a part of a film, in a way, that is kind of bold and is taking a chance like that, and I think that anyone that thinks this is a celebration of Wall Street and this sort of hedonism — yes, the unique thing about Marty is that he doesn't judge his characters," DiCaprio said. "And that was something that you don't quite understand while you're making the movie, but he allows the freedom of this almost hypnotic, drug-infused, wild ride that these characters go on. And he allows you, as an audience — guilty or not — to enjoy in that ride without judging who these people are. Because ultimately, he keeps saying this: 'Who am I to judge anybody?'"
Not only have the reviews for the movie been polarizing, the daughter of one of the men involved in the financial scheme the film is based on has spoken out. Christina McDowell wrote an open letter for the LA Weekly expressing her disappointment with the making of "Wolf of Wall Street." Jordan Belfort, the real life financier that DiCaprio portrays in the film, testified against her father, Tom Prousalis, she said.
"You people are dangerous," McDowell wrote. "Your film is a reckless attempt at continuing to pretend that these sorts of schemes are entertaining, even as the country is reeling from yet another round of Wall Street scandals."
In his interview, DiCaprio characterizes the film, on which he also served as a producer, as shining a much needed light.
"I mean ultimately I think if anyone watches this movie, at the end of "Wolf of Wall Street," they're going to see that we're not at all condoning this behavior," he said. "In fact we're saying that this is something that is in our very culture and it needs to be looked at and it needs to be talked about. Because, to me, this attitude of what these characters represent in this film are ultimately everything that's wrong with the world we live in."