I love Martin Scorsese. I love Leonardo DiCaprio. I love that these two have collaborated on five films and I’m sure there’ll be more. For all the remakes, television shows turned into movies and everything else that annoys me – these two make films worth seeing. I remember skipping one of my college classes and going to see What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. This is probably why I failed the class. But I remember being so impressed with the performance by Leonardo DiCaprio that I thought he was actually a mentally-challenged actor in real life. Nope, just an exceptional one. One of his most underrated performances was in This Boy’s Life with Robert DeNiro and Ellen Barkin. Maybe this pairing of DeNiro and DiCaprio got Scorsese’s attention? Like most great actors, DiCaprio picks his projects very carefully and working with a directing legend is certainly a way to go. I have no idea why DiCaprio has been snubbed by the Academy four times now, but perhaps it’s that he’s so consistently amazing in his roles, it’s hard to really assign an award to just one. Whatever the case, I think I might have found a new favorite Scorsese/DiCaprio collaboration. Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!
DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a young and eager stockbroker with eyes on the future. Things are going well for him when he finally gets his series seven license. It’s about that time that the stock market crash of 1987 hit. He’s out on the street. At the advice of his wife, he takes a job at a small firm where he excels. He starts to earn a bit of money and then forms his own company. Life is good. He meets neighbor Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) who sees a pay stub and immediately quits his job to join Belfort. Life is better. As the company grows, so too does Belfort’s ego. No doubt he’s the charismatic face of the company, but also it’s biggest proponent. The heyday of the early to mid 90’s suits Belfort’s lifestyle to a tee. He leaves his wife for quite possibly the most beautiful girl on the face of the planet, Naomi (Margot Robbie). Life is amazing! But life can’t be amazing forever. It’s not long until the FBI starts investigating Belfort’s company. With every rise there comes a fall and no one fell harder than Jordan Belfort.
Of all of Scorsese’s films, I’d heard that The Wolf of Wall Street was the one that most closely resembled GoodFellas (my personal favorite Scorsese film). In a way, it does. I can see where the movie would polarize audiences. I’d heard that people hated it and others that loved it. I’m one of the latter. There were times when I was laughing so hard, I literally had to pause the movie to catch my breath. The first time Jordan meets Donnie. The extended discussion about the midget-tossing scene in the boardroom. The scene where Donnie ad Jordan take Quaaludes. I was crying! Now what’s really strange is that I heard everything in the movie was true. If it was in the film, it happened. The performances in the movie were flat out amazing. If Leonardo DiCaprio was good, Jonah Hill was nearly his equal. Odd to think that Jonah Hill has half the Academy Award nominations that DiCaprio has. At three hours, the film is quite an investment, but I simply couldn’t get enough. This is truly Scorsese and DiCaprio’s most crowning achievement and it’s one that I’ll watch a couple times a year. Highly recommended.
Video: How’s it look?
The only real benefit to “upgrading” to this 4K edition is, you guessed it, the picture quality. I recently rewatched the movie on Blu-ray (had I known a 4K version was on the horizon, I’d have waited) so this gave me the perfect opportunity to do a little comparison. First off, there’s not a night and day difference. There usually never is between a new film between its Blu-ray and 4K counterparts. But there were instances in which the HDR did make a lasting impression. Tiny nuances like the texture of suits, the deeper colors which gave the actors more of a “bronz’ish” look. Detail has been improved, albeit slightly. And that’s the thing with 4K releases. Unless it’s something that’s in dire need of an upgrade, you really have to look for what’s improved and what might just be a placebo effect. The question you have to ask is – is it worth it to you?
Audio: How’s it sound?
Sadly, Paramount didn’t use this opportunity to replace the DTS HD Master Audio track with a Dolby Atmos, but there’s plenty of music in this film and it comes across strong and clear on this track. Vocals were very clean sounding with no flaws. There’s plenty of craziness throughout the entire film and that gives the channels plenty to work with. Details during several of the office sequences were always strong. This track accompanies the fine transfer well and will please.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The same supplements from the previously-released edition are in place here. Again, it’d have been nice to see something new, but it is what it is.
The Wolf Pack -We get a pretty decent look at the making of the film. We also hear from some of the cast and crew as well.
Running Wild – Plenty of behind the scenes footage is present here with quips from DiCaprio, Scorsese and a few others.
The Wolf of Wall Street Roundtable – Essentially DiCaprio doing a lot of talking and Scorsese doing a lot of nodding while referring to the making of the film.
The Bottom Line
The Wolf of Wall Street has aged beautifully (as is the case with most of Scorsese’s films). The real question you have to ask is this: is it worth buying this on 4K which, admittedly, looks better than the Blu-ray. There’s only one disc, no new features and the same audio mix as we’ve had since its arrival on Blu-ray. If the answer is yes, then what are you waiting for?