How Martin Scorsese Pulled the Wool over Our Eyes in 'Wolf of Wall Street'

The Wolf of Wall Street
Sometimes, storytelling is less about what you show and more about what you keep hidden.

Cinema is a lie; its very nature centers on the illusion of motion, depth, and time. But this goes beyond the phi phenomenon -- the techniques we use to unfurl narratives, both cinematically and narratively, can be seen as tricks, sleights of hand, prestidigitation, the ol' bait and switch, that we perform on our audiences. How much information do we give to our audience at the beginning of our films? How do we reveal information as time goes on? What kinds of effects will our choices have?

These questions and more are answered in this excellent video essay sent to us by Milad Tangshir, who explores the techniques used by Martin Scorsese on The Wolf of Wall Street

There are so many ways to tell a story. Not every film is going to require a bunch of misdirection, especially if it doesn't fit inside the packaging of certain genres, like thriller, horror, spy, cop, etc. However, the way you reveal characters, their character arc, and emotional states, absolutely require some finesse, and by distilling the themes found in this video essay, you can use its lessons on your own projects.     

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5 Comments

Excelent essay! Completely made me change my mind about the film. Now I want to see it again

November 11, 2014 at 8:11PM

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Rebecca Pelagio
film student
261

This video made me appreciate all the things that I once critiqued about the film. Nice job, Milad.

November 11, 2014 at 10:44PM, Edited November 11, 10:44PM

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Raafi Rivero
Director
313

November 12, 2014 at 12:01PM

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I rarely stay 30 minutes in front of a single video. But i enjoyed this film so much that I couldn't stop watching and learning something more about it. And the most surprising thing is that this essay is made from my course's Cinema and Theatre professor in Turin, and i discovered it just at the very end... I'm speechless! :D

November 13, 2014 at 4:00AM

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Brilliant film analysis! I've gained SO much insight into this film as well as the filmmaking process!!!

December 21, 2014 at 8:07PM

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Crystal McGhee
Director/Writer/Producer/Actor
223