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The Wolf of Wall Street (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)


The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements


With his usual riveting and gritty insight into the seedier side of life, Martin Scorsese paints the true story of stockbroker Jordan Belfort's rise from penny stock salesman to billionaire Wall Street shark and his eventual fall due to corruption, drug abuse, and sexual debauchery.

With The Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese directs Terence Winter’s screenplay adaptation of Jordan Belfort’s memoirs of his rise and fall as a corrupt and debauched Wall Street banker. In doing so, not only does Scorsese make one of his most biting commentaries on runaway American avarice and materialism, but also crafts one of the most hilarious films of his illustrious career.

Scorsese teams up once again with Leonardo DiCaprio (Shutter Island; The Departed; The Aviator took home the Golden Globe for his role here) as Jordan Belfort, whose story is told, often in the first person through narration, from his time as a young, pie-eyed trainee at a big brokerage firm on Wall Street. Starting out a mostly good guy looking to do well for his clients and his wife, Belfort takes the lessons of his mentor Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) a bit too much to heart and is soon looking out for number one – himself. He realizes quickly that the way to rack up the riches is through commissions, no matter if the client makes money or not. When the market tanks in 1987, Belfort finds himself selling unregulated penny stocks for companies with dubious financial outlooks to middle class folks, but he realizes that the best way to really make a killing is to unload these garbage stocks on super-wealthy investors. He soon puts together his own team of ragtag salesmen with little financial background and teaches them his nonstop, don’t take no for an answer spiel. Among them is his neighbor Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), a somewhat creepy, possibly mentally challenged guy who will eventually become one of his Vice Presidents. His life and career take off, and so does his decline into drug-fueled lechery and run-ins with the law, including an FBI agent (Kyle Chandler) whose eye he catches after Forbes runs an article on his firm, labeling him “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Despite starting out as a loving family man, Jordan can’t avoid the cliché of “trading up” in the spousal department either, when the beautiful blonde lingerie model Naomi (Margot Robbie) catches his eye at one of his outrageous parties. It’s just another clue that his life is spinning out of control.

Despite its nearly three-hour length, The Wolf of Wall Street flies by with an amazing amount of momentum and energy thanks to Scorsese’s direction. He utilizes all the tricks in the book to keep the story flowing, including numerous flashbacks and flashes back to the present, several impossibly hilarious gags, including one where Jordan has a bad reaction to some Quaaludes and loses his motor skills while driving home in his Ferrari. DiCaprio really plays it up to the hilt here as well, throwing himself into the entire gag making himself really look the fool.

But The Wolf of Wall Street isn’t all about gags, there are plenty of moments filled with powerful dialogue. There’s a moment where Jordan delivers a rousing speech to his employees to get them riled up for the company’s first IPO for a shoe designer. It’s also an opportunity for Scorsese to expose the underbelly of greed in American society. Jordan’s speech goes from quiet to a fever pitch in which he extols the virtues of being rich, saying “I’ve been a rich man, and I’ve been a poor man…I’ll take being rich every time!” and continues to denigrate what he perceives as the mundane, worthless lives of those without money. It’s very reminiscent of Gordon Gecko in Wall Street and the famous “greed is good” line, but even harsher. It’s moments like these aided by a rousing performance from DiCaprio, that help keep The Wolf of Wall Street entertaining for its entire three-hour run.

The Video

The Wolf of Wall Street is taken from a new film transfer supervised by Scorsese and arrives on 4K Ultra HD in a 2.39:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) encodement with Dolby Vision HDR. The film was shot in a hybrid manner on both film and digitally on various Arri cameras, with the digital used mostly for low light settings. The result is an image that has very finely layered grain structure, nuanced colors that are brought out even more in a tasteful way with the added wide color gamut of Dolby Vision (look at the gorgeous pop of thew azure water as DiCaprio sail on the yacht for example), and shadows that don’t get swallowed up by noisy grain, though some skyline and cityscape shots lack definition. Ultimately, however, this is a reference transfer that stays true to Scorsese’s original vision while bringing out more of the film’s colorful palette that switches from the cooler office settings to the sunny, warmer outdoor tones.

The Audio

The lossless English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 engulfs you in the atmospheric din of the madness of the brokerage house, spreads the rollicking rock and pop soundtrack out with superb dynamics, and offers up clean dialogue. This isn’t going to provide big, bombastic low-end frequencies, but then that doesn’t quite fit with this film. There is enough ‘oomph’ and even more, midrange punch to provide satisfying aural entertainment.

The Supplements

The previously released behind-the-scenes and making of featurettes listed below are included in addition to a Digital Copy Code and Blu-ray with feature film.

  • The Wolf Pack (1080p; DV; 00:17:01)
  • Running Wild (1080p; DV; 00:11:21)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street Round Table (1080p; DV; 00:10:58)

The Final Assessment

A gritty epic about the pitfalls of greed and debauchery served up on a reference 4K platter from Paramount. Highly recommended.

The Wolf of Wall Street is out on 4K Ultra HD Combo December 14, 2021 from Paramount

  • Rating Certificate: R
  • Studios & Distributors: Red Granite Pictures | Appian Way | Sikelia Productions | EMJAG Productions | Paramount Home Entertainment
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Written By: Terence Winter (screenplay) | Jordan Belfort (book)
  • Run Time: 179 Mins.
  • Street Date: 14 December 2021
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: English Audio Description | French DD 5.1
  • Subtitles: English | English SDH | French

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With his usual riveting and gritty insight into the seedier side of life, Martin Scorsese paints the true story of stockbroker Jordan Belfort's rise from penny stock salesman to billionaire Wall Street shark and his eventual fall due to corruption, drug abuse, and sexual debauchery. The Wolf of Wall Street (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)