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.

This video-essay is part of a series I am uploading for education purposes and is protected under the Fair Use copyright laws of the United States.

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