Both The Wolf of Wall Street and Citizen Kane show
men accumulating wealth, acquiring mistresses, divorcing their wives
and succumbing to decadence and power. But where Scorsese significantly
differs from Welles’ vision is in the ending. Welles may have lamented
Kane’s loss of innocence by materialising it in a sled, but Scorsese
exposes materialism itself. His film closes with an image of Jordan
Belfort’s captivated audience wishing to learn his secrets of success.
That final image is an unflinching mirror of us, the audience secretly
wishing for our own Belfort-scale wealth.
Steven Benedict is a writer, producer and director of multi-award winning films. He is also a contributor to several shows on Newstalk106. Having lectured for several years in
University College, Dublin, the National College of Art and Design
and the National Film School, he recently graduated with First Class
Honours from the Staffordshire University MSc in Feature Film Production
2 thoughts on “Watch: How Are Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and Orson Welles’s ‘Citizen Kane’ Related?”
It seems only to prove the genius of Orson Welles and his ability to balance dialogue with visuals. They are harmonious – adding nuance and subtlety without overstating. Where dialogue is not enough, a strong visual takes over the narrative instead. And vice versa. Wolf, on the other hand, is crass and hits its points harder – in my opinion, too hard. Though this article is not trying to claim that Wolf is even nearly as good as Kane, it did bring to my attention just how talented and before-his-time Welles was.
Other than juxapositioning scenes from the two films and run dialogue over the scenes, others have come to the same conclsion re the viewing audience’s complicity with Belfort’s rapaciousness at the end of The Wolf of Wall Street.