Watch: How Are Scorsese’s ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and Welles’s ‘Citizen Kane’ Related?
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
Watch: What If RATATOUILLE Met THE WOLF OF WALL STREET? Two Trailers, Merged
So here’s the thing: the most resounding criticism of Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street was that its rambunctious, excessive, extreme, vulgar manner was not, in fact, satire but an endorsement, and in fact a glorification, of Wall Streeters’ behavior, without filter, without restraint, loud, in your face, and utterly unapologetic. No one made similar accusations of Ratatouille, for a number of reasons. It was a cartoon, so its viewers knew what to expect. Its storyline was not the sort of storyline that attracts such rage. Oh, and of course, lest I forget: Ratatouille was about RATS! In all other respects, though, the two films are quite similar. Could have been by the same director, in fact. And as if to prove it, we have Harrison Allen’s ingenious mix of the two films, right here. Once you watch this, you’ll wonder how you could have ever thought the films were all that different…
Watch: A Video Essay on the Structural Beauty of Martin Scorsese’s THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
What Milad Tangshir has done with this extremely well-researched and well-edited video essay on Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is actually several things. On the most basic level, he has broken down one of Scorsese’s best films of recent years into its components: a tightly structured plot; nuanced narration; camera techniques which allow us to inhabit the transformation at the heart of the movie. On another level, Tangshir places the film within the context of Scorsese’s other films, most directly Raging Bull and Mean Streets, showing us how, in films externally quite different from this one, Scorsese’s mind manifests in the way the film is pieced together, and is consistent. And on still another level, the piece shows how this film can be linked to other similar films from throughout film history, from Citizen Kane forwards. The essay might help diehard fans of Scorsese and his work renew their appreciation for Wolf–and it might help the many people who found the film bothersome appreciate the method at the heart of what is a maelstrom of satirical, Satyricon-worthy madness. Tangshir shows us Jordan Belfort’s ecstacy and his tragicomic decline in equal measure, taking us on a frightening ride through what Scorsese intimates, in one of the interview clips presented here, is our collective mind.