Astrology: Film: Review: ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (2013)

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

Based on the true story of crooked broker Jordan Belfort, Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is a three-hour evocation of the revelry-filled Roman festival known as the Saturnalia. At some point during that ancient manic carnival, the head reveler was put to death. This mythology-as-art winds up imitating life as Belfort’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) professional life soars and then swan dives, just like the helicopter he crashes at the beginning of the film.

The Wolf of Wall Street is an archetypal feast, served up in rich visuals by Scorsese to mimic the raging appetites of Belfort who, as most protagonists, didn’t start off the way he ended up. As an aspiring broker and young married man in 1987, he’s introduced to the addictive stimulants of the financial trade by silver-tongued Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) who’s not above embracing ritualistic chants and bravado chest-tapping to egg him on.

When the market implodes on Black Monday, Belfort, who’s now well practiced in seductive Neptunian sales techniques, gets a job at a penny stock-trading den of iniquity with ludicrously high commissions. He quickly transforms this motley lot of crude pitchmen and mall-joint colleagues into acolytes. And, although he demands the Saturnine qualities of respect, loyalty and precision from others, he treats those to whom he sells with disdain and simply as conduits to personal financial bounty. It’s a Saturn-ruled land where the end justifies the means. In short, Belfort emerges as the archetypal Mercurial trickster who swiftly begins to attract like-minded chiselers, including Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill).

In his ambitious and focused Saturnine rise to the top, Belfort doesn’t short change other archetypal expressions. He’s a Leonine leader – a golden boy whose Sun-filled demeanor inspires confidence among his followers. He names his new company Stratton Oakmont, after the sturdy and long-lived Saturnine tree that grows predictably, like clock work, and is perched on an enviable, natural pinnacle. Unfortunately, in addition to becoming the proverbial Saturnine CEO, he’s also a Plutonian control freak who increasingly begins to demonstrate Uranian personality upheavals and inconsistencies within an ever widening spiral of Venusian aggregation and Jupiterian excess.

Add to the mix lots of Martian, testosterone-driven sex, competition and aggression, as well as a wide array of Neptunian drug-taking episodes, including a mini-tragicomedy involving some expired quaaludes. The overall result is a highly efficient roadmap which takes the protagonist farther away from his self-built – and to be preserved at all costs, in true Saturnine fashion – Oakmont.

In the wings and waiting to pounce is FBI agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) – a relentless, persistent and highly ambitious Saturnine foil to Belfort. Denham represents Saturnine law and order – the rules Belfort has refused to play by – and he becomes the mythological boatman and self-appointed guide who’ll ferry Belfort, kicking and screaming, to his inevitable nadir. In the end, Belfort, despite his Saturnine devotion to and reverence for loyalty, betrays a laundry list of past and present colleagues, all in the interest of Saturnine expediency.

If a movie’s richness is tied to a seamless blend of archetypal energies, the Zodiacally explosive The Wolf of Wall Street is its own galaxy. In the words of Belfort, “The show must go on. This is my home.” Scorsese’s creation is a Lunar – make that loony – domicile for the ages.

Astrology Film Rating: ☉☽ ☿ ♀ ♂ ♃ ♄ ♅ ♆ ♇ (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto)

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