Ever since Martin Scorsese’s film The Wolf of Wall Street was released in 2013, it’s been noticed by many that quite a few fans of the film didn’t quite get that the financial fraudsters in the film were supposed to be the bad guys. It’s even been suggested, much like Oliver Stone’s Wall Street in the 1980s, that some people have been inspired by the movie to pursue careers in the finance sector.
Bernie Sanders, it’s pretty clear, knows who the bad guys are in The Wolf of Wall Street.
The Democratic presidential candidate, who has railed against the excesses of the banks and other financial institutions throughout his career, was profiled in The New York Times last week, and a paragraph about the senator’s “amusements” revealed that he’s a fan of The Wolf of Wall Street.
“Even his amusements seem to be in character,” the Times said. “He uses an iPad (not a phone) to devour social media and news, and loves to watch old boxing matches and movies like ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and ‘Melancholia,’ a 2011 dystopian drama that ends with the obliteration of the Earth. He sings along, tunelessly, with 1960s and 1970s folk rock on car radios, takes long walks with his wife and adores his grandchildren.”
The Wolf of Wall Street, of course, was based on the true story of Stratton Oakmont, a Long Island-based penny stock outfit led by Jordan Belfort, which rose in the 1990s and eventually collapsed when the firm was found to have committed massive financial fraud.
The film would appear to fit in with Sanders’ beliefs about greedy finance industry figures taking advantage of customers and not being sufficiently punished. However, the film’s depiction of rampant debauchery and drug usage is quite at odds with Sanders’ personal aesthetic.
Meanwhile, it should surprise no one that Jordan Belfort himself is both a supporter of Donald Trump and not a big fan of Bernie Sanders.
“What frightens me about a Bernie Sanders or an Elizabeth Warren is like they think that government is… the answer… but the policies that they’re talking about will literally destroy the fabric of the country,” Belfort said in an interview with Fox News last fall.
Then again, it appears that the other film Sanders likes, Lars Von Trier’s film Melancholia – in which a period of anxiety and depression gives way to the full-on apocalypse – has a bit more salience these days.