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The Wolf of Wall Street - Blu-ray Review

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The Wolf of Wall Street - Movie Review

5 stars

Leonardo DiCaprio comes roaring back – and boy, does he roar – from his lifeless turn in this past Spring’s humdrum The Great Gatsby with a booming performance in The Wolf of Wall Street, which also represents somewhat of a return to form for Martin Scorcese, whose financially and critically successful Shutter Island and Hugo now seem to pale in comparison.

In what could easily be described as a cautionary tale about the destructive influence of excess, lust, and greed, DiCaprio is Jordan Belfort, a real-life disgraced stockbroker who made millions in the late ‘80s, and early ‘90s by defrauding his clients before spending the spoils on expensive cars, palatial homes, a yacht once owned by Coco Chanel, hookers, orgies, and all the drugs and alcohol a human could possibly consume. This is the same guy, by the way, who ran a penny stock trading den that spawned the 2000 Giovani Ribisi and Vin Diesel (before he was really Vin Diesel) film Boiler Room. A level of success for which we should all strive; having two movies made about our criminally salacious, hard-partying ways.

The film opens in pre-Black Monday late ‘80s as Belfort begins working in a bottom-rung position at a respectable brokerage firm. Staring at an imposing stack of cold call sheets, he begins “smiling and dialing.” The seeds of his impending nihilism are sown during a three – or four – martini lunch with his boss played by Matthew McConaughey. It’s here where Belfort learns the personal value of greed, drugs, excess, and the worthlessness of scruples and morals in the task of becoming successful. Belfort receives his broker’s license on that fateful day in October 1987 that saw the market collapse more than 500 points. The firm goes under.

But like the proverbial cat with nine lives, Belfort reinvents himself as a broker of highly speculative penny stocks, builds a team of sleazy brokers in a converted Long Island garage, and eventually moves the company to a big, shiny building before attaching the dignified-sounding name Stratton Oakmont.

Enter 50% commissions, big profits, and a rare level of success that eventually wins him the Forbes Magazine’s dub as “The Wolf of Wall Street” a moniker that Belfort lovingly embraces despite its insulting intentions. Belfort’s consuming obsession with greed – and himself – is summed up quite nicely in a DiCaprio-delivered voice-over that becomes the Scorcese signature tone of The Wolf of Wall Street: “The year I turned 26, I made $49 million, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week.”

With his 22nd feature film, Scorcese gets back to doing what he does best: depicting swindlers, thugs, and hoodlums doing what they do best. The playground may be a bit different this time around, with phones and the savvy sell having replaced piano wires, and brass knuckles, but Scorcese’s frenetic energy on display in nearly every scene in The Wolf of Wall Street makes Henry Hill seem tame in comparison.

Then there’s the performance of DiCaprio, which may turn out to be the best of his career. He sells us on his Belfort’s greed and avarice and even delivers with en extended physical sight gag scene as he crawls, amoeba-like in a Quaalude-induced stupor, from the country club to his Ferrari before driving it home. The remainder of the cast, including Jonah Hill as his right-hand man and company co-founder, brings Belfort’s real-life memoirs to life with memorable performances. Pan Am’s Margo Robbie also shows a bit of depth with an indelible turn as Belfort’s blond-haired, blue-eyed trophy wife.

If there’s a gripe with the film, I suppose it would be with its bladder-busting, three-hour runtime that could have been shaved by about 30 minutes, or perhaps by the fact that there’s no real emotional core to DiCaprio’s loathsome character... or to the film for that matter. It’s virtually impossible to find a sympathetic attachment to anyone who blows through $26,000 lunches and refers to $100 bills as “fun coupons.” And forget about feeling sorry for the downward turn in the lives of nearly everyone involved in the Stratton Oakmont “pump-and-dump” empire. Regardless, we simply have a grand old time watching Belfort’s house of cards come crashing down around him. But I suppose that’s kind of the point.

The WOlf of Wall Street - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence.
Runtime:
180 mins
Director
: Martin Scorcese
Writer
: Terence Winter
Cast:
Leonardo DiCaprio, P.J. Byrne, Jon Favreau
Genre
: Comedy | Drama
Tagline:
The Wolf of Wall Street
Memorable Movie Quote: "The year I turned 26, I made $49 million, which really pissed me of because it was three shy of a million a week."
Distributor:
Paramount Pictures
Official Site:
http://www.thewolfofwallstreet.com/
Release Date:
December 25, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.

Synopsis: Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.

The Wolf of Wall Street - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - March 25, 2014
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps); Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; iTunes digital copy; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to region A

The 1080p AVC picture was photographed digitally with the Arri Alexa camera system. The look is absolutely gorgeorus and cinematic! The color palette is rich and warm, with nicely saturated hues and strong primaries. Contrast is terrific with deep, solid blacks and revealing shadow delineation. The color treatment works well regardless of scene environment. Fleshtones are healthily rendered with natural, accurate tones. Resolution is excellent, with fine detail exhibited throughout in facial features, hair, clothing, and object texture. This is an exceptional reference-quality picture with exceptional qualities that won't disappoint.  The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is energized throughout, both dynamically and nuanced sonically.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

There’s nothing special here.  You get one brief featurette that is as basic as it gets and an UltraViolet digital copy of the film.  Boring.

  • The Wolf Pack (17 min)

 

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