The controversy surrounding “The Wolf of Wall Street” when it first was released on Christmas Day 2013 was considerable. Martin Scorsese’s three-hour epic portrayal of the debaucherous life of Jordan Belfort dived hard into the depiction of his wild days of drugs, sex, wild parties and criminal activity.
That was more than a year ago, whereas the present is ripe for a calmer, more thoughtful discussion about the film. A great video essay from The Nerdwriter has popped up recently, delving deep inside the core of the film to offer an insightful explanation of Scorsese’s intentions.
The essay presents the film as part of a movement called the “new cinema of excess,” a phrase that was first coined by writer Izzy Black in her own essay comparing ‘Wolf’ to other recently released films such as “Spring Breakers,” “Pain and Gain” and “The Bling Ring.” These films are considered to be “psychologically transparent,” each making no attempt to moralize the depicted content, forcing the viewers to come up with their own conclusions.
The essay posits that “The Wolf of Wall Street” is not a greek tragedy like Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street” nor is it a satirical critique like “American Psycho.” Greed and excess is explored in “Wolf,” but is never openly condemned. Nor are Belfort’s actions ever being endorsed, and the video cites specific stylistic choices that Scorsese makes throughout the movie that make his intentions clear.
[via No Film School]