x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Cinema fans question whether Scorsese movie should have been screened

Movie goers have expressed their disappointment that cinemas are screening a considerably shorter version of the new film by Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort in a scene from 'The Wolf of Wall Street.' AP Photo/Paramount Pictures and Red Granite Pictures, Mary Cybulski
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort in a scene from 'The Wolf of Wall Street.' AP Photo/Paramount Pictures and Red Granite Pictures, Mary Cybulski

DUBAI // A movie containing more profanity than any in Hollywood history has been cut by a quarter for showing in UAE cinemas.

The version of The Wolf of Wall Street being screened here is about 45 minutes shorter than its original running time of 180 minutes. The changes were made by the distributor.

The film by the American director Martin Scorsese stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who made his fortune by selling low-price stocks before he was imprisoned for fraud.

According to a parents’ guide to the film on the Internet Movie Database, it contains 546 uses of the F word, more than any feature film ever made. There are also 73 other examples of swearing, “lots of religious profanity” and 24 scenes of a sexually explicit or graphic nature.

These and depictions of drug abuse have been edited out, and the constant use of swear words has been muted.

At Reel Cinemas in the Dubai Mall, customers were told of the changes on a printed notice in the foyer apologising “for any inconvenience caused”.

“Dear customers, kindly be informed that the movie The Wolf of Wall Street contains muted words, and some scenes have been removed as they were not considered suitable,” it said.

Some cinemas, however, gave no warning.

“I seriously wish I had waited until it came out on DVD – it’s such a great movie,” said Omar Hindawi, from Jordan, who saw the film at Vox Cinemas in Mall of the Emirates.

“Swear words were muted, which made almost every sentence in the movie hard to understand and sometimes you sit there wondering what happened.

“I wasn’t warned at all that the movie would be cut short by so much.”

Some said the film’s storyline was hard to follow.

“The movie jumped from one scene to another,” said Amit Joshi, from the UK.

“The flow was completely lost. We bought the tickets online for buy one get one free. Even then it wasn’t worth it. I feel it’s better not to show the movie rather than in this chopped-up format.

“I watched it because I have read the book and was intrigued. But this version of the movie does the story or the experience no justice.”

Sharjah resident Omar Haider, from Pakistan, said: “I decided to not see the movie here. I understand that sexual content must be cut but 45 minutes of footage is too much really.

“It completely ruins the picture for me, there is no point in watching a film which is cut and muted or re-dubbed.

“Martin directed a three-hour film for his audience and people are paying to see his three-hour work.”

Others took to Twitter to express their disappointment.

One user said: “Butchered a great movie. Better not to show it.”

Another said: “No point wasting money on a ticket.”

Reel and Vox said they could show only the film that was supplied to them by the distributors.

Vox Cinemas’ website rates the film as a 15+, with a running time of 140 minutes. Reel Cinemas’ site also has the film as a 15+ age rating, with a running time of 135 minutes.

Other films with content that does not conform to the UAE’s cultural values were not released at all. The 2011 movie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was not shown after the producers declined to make the cuts recommended by the National Media Council.

ksinclair@thenational.ae