The Scene That Changes the Entire Meaning of The Wolf of Wall Street – The Film Tourist

The Scene That Changes the Entire Meaning of The Wolf of Wall Street – The Film Tourist


Sometimes, it’s the details of a film that
matter most. Like… a single shot… a needle drop… — “I see a little silhouette of-“ — a
line of dialogue… — “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.” — a sudden cut… What seem like insignificant choices often
say more in under twenty seconds than other films say in two hours. In this new format, we’ll be studying these
seemingly trivial pieces, revealing how even the smallest element can bring layers of meaning
to a piece of art. Welcome to Wisecrack’s THE FILM TOURIST:
The Wolf of Wall Street. “Sell me this pen! Sell me… this pen.” The closing shot of The Wolf of Wall Street. “This pen works…” Just a simple push-in and crane-up. Well… what if I told you this shot changes
the meaning of the entire film? “This pen works, and I personally love—“ As a client describes ‘the pen’, his voice
drowns out and solemn music kicks in. Up to this point, the film has utilized poppy,
upbeat hits to underscore the debauchery. “The amnesia phase.” So, why the sudden shift to something more
serious and meditative? For most of its three-hour runtime, The Wolf
of Wall Street revels in Jordan Belfort’s excess: his yacht, his women, his drugs, his
parties — the lifestyle paid for by defrauding investors. That is, until the FBI circles in, seizing
Belfort’s cash and sending him away to prison for four years. But unlike similar films— where, the corrupt
Wall Street broker gets locked up and justice is served — The Wolf of Wall Street is absent
any overt moralizing. Belfort’s prison sentence is a cakewalk,
and he doesn’t even serve his full sentence. In the end, nothing has changed. Belfort is still selling and the people, well,
they’re still buying. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. The final shot can be interpreted in a number
of ways, but here are our three favorites. One: the final shot holds up a mirror to us,
the moviegoers viewing the film. Notice there’s a backlight behind the seminar
that evokes a projector shining on the back of an audience. So, what does this mean? Well, it may to easy to lay the blame solely
on Jordan for all the moral depravity in The Wolf of Wall Street. “Jordan!” “Jordan, Jordan, listen!”
“Jordan? Jordan?” “Jordan!” “Jordan!” “You!” But, perhaps the final shot lays the blame
not only on Belfort, but on us, and the culture that allows and encourages his behavior. “My wife might divorce me but, yeah, let’s
do it.” Early on, Belfort says, “Every person you’re
on the phone with, they want to get rich and they want to get rich quickly. They all want something for nothing.” We may feel dignified because we’re not
crawling on the ground f**ked up on quaaludes, but truth is, Jordan’s scam wouldn’t work
if we didn’t share his dream of getting rich quickly. Wanting something for nothing… We all want to be just like him. Scorsese is essentially calling us out – we’ve
just spent three hours partying with Jordan, laughing and reveling in his exploits. It’s no wonder Jordan doesn’t suffer any
punishment in the end, because, after all, we revel in everything he does, living vicariously
through him, wishing that we could live his life. Two: do all these people staring intently
at one person, hanging on his every word remind you of something? Yeah, we’re gonna go there. Scorsese, a devout catholic, has spent much
of his career exploring his faith in films. Yet, in The Wolf of Wall Street characters
worship at the altar of something else: MONEY. The camera holds on these people: each one
in focus so we can see their painfully average faces — desperate, plain-looking people
looking for meaning; desiring that which can elevate them above their mundane existence. Is Scorcese cynically likening the transformative
power of faith to the transformative power of money? Except The Almighty never promised a million
bucks in eight easy steps. Three: what if by solemnly portraying a crowd
that worships Jordan, despite his detestable actions, Scorsese suggests something really
sinister? That we actually like being taken advantage
of. “Oh, baby! You’re gonna play rough, huh?” French philosopher Jean-Francois Lyotard famously
said as much — “The English unemployed did not become workers
to survive, they… enjoyed the hysterical, masochistic, whatever exhaustion it was of
hanging on the mines, in the foundries, in the factories, in hell, they enjoyed it… — “Ah! Jesus Christ!”— … enjoyed the mad destruction
of their organic bodies… — “I like it! I like it!” — the decomposition of their
personal identity, — “You are lower than pond scum.” — … enjoyed the dissolution
of their families and villages, and enjoyed the new monstrous anonymity of the suburbs
and the pubs in the morning and evening.” So, could this closing image indicate the
voluntary submission of the masses, who not only don’t mind white collar criminals stealing
their money, but find a perverse enjoyment in their banal existence under the heel of
the Jordan Belforts of the world? This one single shot is emblematic of just
how complex The Wolf of Wall Street is. As a true totem of our culture of excess,
the film defies easy answers. This format is a bit of a test for us, so,
let us know what you think in the comments. And as always, guys, thanks for watching. Peace.

100 thoughts on “The Scene That Changes the Entire Meaning of The Wolf of Wall Street – The Film Tourist

  1. Yep. The Wolf of Wall Street is a sharp comment on the plutocracy, wich effectively enslave the population of the US.
    A population wich, to a large degree, answer "Thank you, sir. May I have another".

  2. "Sell me this pen" was the words he used to recruit and teach his friends on how to make pitches, and buy and sell pitches. The entire movie if I recall takes places in 2008 crash, so I beleive useing the same words ,in a siminare like enviorment, that he used on his close friends and employee's, he's teaching others how to be secessful

  3. loved the format, hated the conclusion, J F Leotard is a "flying monkey" for the Narcissistic psychopaths that rule us not a Philosopher ( not seeking knowledge or truth but to impose an agenda )

  4. Love the new video format, different people take different meaning to each and every scene in each film. Keep up the great works guys, love your channel!

  5. Please edit Jared into every flick you can! The first shot I was like, "dude you were an extra?" 😂😂 Perfection! Wouldn't change a thing!

  6. People are always looking for the next "bigger better thing". Otherwise, we would still be happy using sticks as tools in Africa. Even the well off want to grow 1 to 10 to 100million. Because? Why not?
    For the english factory works liking it. It was the best option. It was better than tilling soil for 12 hours a day, crop failure, and almost starving over winter.

  7. nah… the real meaning of the scene is different… The Straight line that jordan is basically selling put the bases that the need close the sale. you agree to something only if you can believe that the need is fulfilled with that and there is a real or a perception of the need.

  8. For the "sell the pen" exersise my answer is " See this pen? Think of all your big plans and dreams. You can plan it all out with pen and this notebook. For the low low price of $1,000. Invest in your future." People want what will help them solve their problems.

  9. This shot was NOT supposed to be in the movie…I met JB, who as I'm sure you know, is the one who introduces himself in the scene. (I took the straight line persuasion sales training) and the original script was supposed to end with jail, when they started shooting the movie it was 2007, then the Hollywood screen actor lockout happened, and the project was put on hold until 2011. When they called Jordan to let him know the project was back on, he had drastically transformed his life again. He was rich (he was flat broke post jail), married, and a successful sales trainer. Scorsese said he was so inspired by his ability to always bounce back, he added this into the ending of the movie, hence the crazy long run time.

  10. Nice format and all, but the content completely misses the point of the scene. It has zero to do with people being happy at being ripped off and everything to do with people wanting to do exactly what he did.

  11. What I interpret, the white light the audience has their back to is god, righteousness. The entire audiences attention is focused on the devil (money), the pen portrays how harmless it may begin, but the movie "shows" you where it can lead depending on who you follow…
    It is a micro tale of the world and its value system, the perspective of the screwer, destroyed countless lives and families no murder required, here's a slap on the wrist for getting caught.

  12. I don't get how people can watch this movie and with they had this life and thinking that the main character is cool. He was so clearly an opportunistic shit from the very start and lacked true happiness in life. Last scene didn't change anything for me, it only made sure that even the dumbest viewers would have a chance to get the message. People absolutely like to be used and abused. I see it all the time. It's like whoever shits on society more, gets more love and praise. And those who call them out on it are "the bad guys". I never understood it but it is so painfully common…

  13. Enjoyable watch, but I find it hard to agree with the premise that the shot "changes" the meaning of the film. If anything, it serves to reinforce the meanings, or probably make them less ambiguous to the rather distracted members of the audience

  14. Finding meaning in movie scenes by disecting it and taking an insignificant object and attributing some significance to it is as pretentious as an art dealer that described an accidental splash as the most insightful work ever

  15. Not only was this informative as hell, but it was also interesting as hell. Seeing the host inserted an extra layer of entertainment and kept me hooked.

    YouTube needs more of this.

  16. They said it's a pilot, but I vaguely remember one for the Shining or something like that…maybe that video was just the announcement? Either way, absolutely love it!

  17. Wow this is a bit overwrought (I wish you had just literally made your own original movie instead of editing yourself into scenes), but your analysis is so on point.

  18. Honestly that whole movie was repulsive to me. I only kept watching to finally find our why it supposedly was such a great film. Yeah i can see that there was attempt at some critisism but i dont agree with the conclusion and i just really hated that movie. It attempted to seem like some social critique but in the end it was just a ode to that life style. I really felt like i wasted hours of my life

  19. Those shots that look like you are actually IN the movie look soo epic! Well done production. What’s the trick? Is it really so easy nowadays to do this kind of green screen magic? The lighting of the scene and the color scheme are fitting so well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *