The Wolf of Wall Street
What if an alien in the future stumbled upon The Wolf of Wall Street? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey
Director: Martin Scorsese
Production Co: Red Granite Pictures, Appian Way Productions, Sikelia Productions
Written by: Ben Steiner
Analysis & Directed by: Jared Bauer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (https://twitter.com/mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Producer & Additional Artwork by: Jacob S. Salamon
The Wolf of Wall Street’s Hidden Meaning – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by my great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great grandfather’s lookalike, Martini Scandini.
The film tells the story of incorruptible human male Jordan Belfort, who upon entering the workforce is immediately corrupted by a voodoo curse. He starts using his silver tongue to sell penny stocks, which were stocks with Abraham Lincoln’s face on them.
One day Jordan is accosted by a human easter egg named Donnie, who offers to work for him. Despite the fact that Donnie presents no qualifications or discernible value, Jordan takes him up on this offer, and they start a new company with a shiny name and a revitalized mission
statement. After a write-up in Earth’s thriving print media, their company start attracting more white guys than they know what to do with.
Jordan upgrades his brunette wife to a blonde one, and gets hot and heavy with the sweetest mistress of them all, Quaaludes. But what’s a parade without a little rain? The federales start sniffing their big dumb noses around, and in an effort to keep them off his scent, Jordan enlists his Redcoat aunt to open a Swiss bank account in his honor. Shortly thereafter, he smuggles his money out of the country with the help of some very fashionable friends.
But just like my wife, the FBI won’t go down without a fight. They start watching his every move. His every… single… move. Next thing you know, the Redcoat aunt is dead, so Jordan and his buds have to boat over to Monaco to make sure that bank account isn’t dead too. They encounter some stormy weather, but it’s nothing a little “being rescued by the Coast Guard” can’t handle.
Fast forward two years: the Swiss bank guy gets arrested and tattles on Jordan, proving once and for all that there is no honor among skeevs. Then Jordan’s wife leaves with the daughter they apparently have and the FBI shuts down the company. Jordan gets sent to maximum security tennis camp for a few summers, and afterward he gets rich again teaching sales seminars.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a dark comedy that satirizes 20th century American excess, not to mention 20th century American Express. But rather than stooping to overt moralization, the film does exactly the opposite. It demonstrates that cocaine gives you the superhuman strength of a common sailor and that being thrown at a dartboard is the ultimate sign of respect. Conversely, a life of enforcing the law gets you sentenced to life in a dirty mobile prison.
The film’s depiction of excess is evident not only in its content and running time, but in its visual style as well. The elliptical editing and camera movement work in concert with Jordan’s habitual acts of debauchery, making the viewer feel like a participant in his lifestyle. Without all the pesky side effects, like wealth and euphoria. Indeed, one could say this debauchery is almost animalistic.
From this bizarre, horse-like mating ritual to Bring Your Evolutionary Forebear to Work Day, these kings of industry often behave more like kings of the jungle. Their predatory pursuit of capital and insatiable lust for life is championed by their alpha male– the leader of the pack. The wolf pack. You know, because of the title. Remember? It’s called “The Wolf of Wall Street.” If you don’t remember that, frankly I don’t know if there’s much hope for you. In any case, despite Jordan’s contemptible behavior, the viewer wants him to succeed.
Perhaps it’s the innate human propensity to live vicariously through others, or perhaps it’s those cute dimples, but after a while his morally bankrupt hedonism starts to make some amount of sense. Jordan becomes “grotesque,” a literary term that describes anything that induces both empathy and disgust at the same time. Like how I feel about my mother-in-law, minus the empathy. The film’s final shot holds up a mirror to its audience by showing a gaggle of average humans, hopelessly searching for answers.
In this moment, all the complicated feelings the viewer has about Jordan are redirected back at humans themselves– by consuming the movie, they put money in the pockets of the man who went to jail for stealing their money. As always, humans learned nothing. Except perhaps how hard it is to get your hands on a decent ‘lude. For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. Until next time, keep your nose clean.
For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid.