goddamn it, I just don't have time to answer this properly right now.
suffice to say, subject matter is not a replacement for interesting portrayal. but to me this approach is what makes the film bold and interesting. I wasn't expecting the film to go for this kind of thing, and by doing that it became more a give and take game with the audience instead of an observational document on people like belfort. the risks of this are obvious, people like sleepless just can't take this assholes, it's a much more visceral reaction than what we could have if the film asked us to have more empathy with them.
I mention this too because even though I talked earlier about what Scorsese said in relation to Raging Bill ("because he is human") I don't think he's approaching Belfort or any of the other characters like that. He doesn't give them any dignity, as I remember the film. Every word that comes out of Belfort's mouth is turned on it's head. It's a more ambitious narrative, where we see everything from Belfort's POV while at the same time the film forces us to see things from the outside (what that review referred to as a "Godlike" contemplation). Perhaps Scorsese is way too angry about all of this to permit himself the sympathy he had for Henry Hill or other anti-heroes.
This is why I thought of Buńuel and The Exterminating Angel. The film it's almost surreal in it's endless loop of debauchery. Fun gives way to boredom, and then to horror. Just how much more drugs and parties can these people have before they get it? When are they going to think of the people they leave behind? Where is the conscience? When it finally happens, and they touch bottom, the real horror comes out: they don't learn a thing, and there's a multitude out there willing to make it all happen again for themselves.
of course I understand approaches like this are risky, and people can be turned off, but that's what real artists do with expectations. as for chris doyle, he's always been an overrated douchebag, so everything he says is kind of lame.