First Leonardo DiCaprio spoke about it, now "The Wolf of Wall Street" director Martin Scorsese has gone on the record about audience dissatisfaction with the film.
Speaking with Deadline, Scorsese says the issue isn't with the character of Jordan Belfort or his ultimate fate, but the larger issues the film brings up of an increasingly capitalistic society that sees greed as a virtue and garnering wealth by any means as justified:
"The main factor to be considered here is the mind-set and the culture which allows this kind of behavior not only to be allowed, but encouraged. And what they do is never shown.
As a naïve young person I thought that in white collar jobs, people behaved a certain way, respectably. I’m sure there are people who do. But, I’m 71. And in the past 30 years or so, I’ve seen the change in the country, what values were and where they’ve gone.
The values now are only quite honestly about what makes money. To present characters like this on the screen, have them reach some emotional crisis, and to see them punished for what they’ve done, all it does is make us feel better. And we’re the victims, the people watching onscreen.
So to do something that has an obvious moral message, where two characters sit in the film and hash it out, or where you have titles at the end of the film explaining the justice, the audience expects that. They’ve been inured to it.
I didn’t want them to be able to think problem solved, and forget about it. I wanted them to feel like they’d been slapped into recognizing that this behavior has been encouraged in this country, and that it affects business and the world, and everything down to our children and how they’re going to live, and their values in the future.
Gold Derby has published a 15-minute video interview with Scorsese conducted via Google Chat. He gives similar responses, but you can see him doing it in person.