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Audiences in the United Arab Emirates who saw Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street saw a drastically different film that was 45 minutes shorter than the 179-minute cut seen by American audiences. Crowds were reportedly left baffled by the cuts, which made the film incomprehensible.
Dubai’s The National confirmed the cuts, noting that most of the film’s profanity was muted or cut out and scenes with drug use were chopped as well. Considering the film has a record 546 uses of the ‘f word’ and features drug use in multiple scenes, that’s a lot of footage left on the floor.
According to the BBC, audiences couldn’t quite understand the story of Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. “It's like looking at the Mona Lisa with sunglasses on,” one moviegoer told Gulf News. “There are so many unorthodox cuts that you are never really sure what's happening.” One student even told the site that she went home to download an uncut version just to understand the plot.
Meanwhile, the UAE government’s National Media Council said that it did not make the cuts, blaming the distributor. Gulf Film, which is distributing the film in the region, made the cuts before showing it to the NMC, the media watchdog group’s director said.
The UAE isn’t the only country seeing a different version of the film. While the American cut is lighting up the box office in Europe, The Hollywood Reporter notes that several explicit scenes were cut in India, including the gay orgy scene. Singapore gave it the R21 rating, which bans it from suburban cinemas. It was completely banned in Malaysia and Nepal.
Paramount is distributing the film in the U.S. It was fully financed by Red Granite and cost $100 million to make.