This movie is not a rarity.As with all of Scorsese's works it has character,impeccable direction,and a message.Di Caprio gives a most convincing performance and the rest of the cast(most of them unknown actors)are very good puppets in the hands of the master puppeteer, Scorsese.
Yet the movie has shortcomings,as well.One ,it is unnecessarily lengthy.Two,there is repetition ,especially in the drug abuse schenes.
Scorsese apparently tried to draw a picture of what constitutes,for many decades now,the "succesful" financially ruling class in the U.S.A sum total of people who have no values or ideals whatsoever,who create nothing,produce nothing and idolise wealth which they pursue deceiving,hurting,and financially destroying as many simple people as they possibly can.
All this in order to lead a life of luxury,sex and drugs.These three "items" constitute the "meaning of life" in the new american society.No b.s. about country,flag,honour,principles,ideals,religion etc.Not the usual flag-waving Jesus-saving of most Hollywood productions.Scorsese tells it as he sees it.A society of wolves and sheep,nothing more,nothing less,nothing in -between..
Yet the final feeling is ambiguous.It encompasses both awe,and disgust.Whilst one cannot say that anything in this movie is incorrect,innaccurate,or just plain "wrong",a feeling of nausea prevails at the end.Especially since there is no real "catharsis".Ergo,there is no hope.
It is an interesting movie.Disgusting in its social findings,perhaps,yet interesting.Worth watching,and even more thinking about it.But it really is a "black" movie.It is about a society going down the sewer.It is Pompeii ,waiting in all its glittering glamour for Vesuvius to erupt.And the ground is already trembling.