Spend it Better

Jordan Belfort’s victims don’t matter to him. They’re never seen. He never interacts with those people. To him, they’re idiots, lessers, or plebeians who simply aren’t smart enough to do what he does. Belfort never considers those people have morals though.

Wolf of Wall Street spends much of its time showing its lead characters drunk or high. Much of that comes from substance abuse, the rest generating a buzz from Reagan-era wealth generation and greed; Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) lives for it.

Financial crimes seem the lest reprehensible by Wolf of Wall Streets closing act

Everything Belfort does encapsulates the ‘80s, even though his crimes stretched into the following decade. He treats wealth seductively; he treats people terribly. Testosterone matters above all; women exist to be fondled at his will. Financial crimes seem the lest reprehensible by Wolf of Wall Streets closing act, but those are the only ones he’s charged for.

In the opening frames, Belfort and those who cultishly salivate in his presence toss a little person at a target board. Later, Wolf of Wall Street swings back to the event beforehand where Belfort and company discuss what they can do to this hired performer – legally, anyway. They scour the small print, knowing that everything they’ll do with this dwarf is dehumanizing. All they want though is to waste their fortune by tearing down everyone who isn’t them.

Scorcese’s hand keeps the darkness low – he treats these real world events through a satirical lens. It’s too absurd to play straight, and unfathomable now. Yet, the people Belfort scammed out of their savings appears repetitious when realizing Wolf of Wall Street came out immediately after a recession perpetrated by stock market thugs.

Wall Street took this topic on directly, in the midst of financial corruption, but in trying to top Oliver Stone’s work, Scorcese finds truth to latch onto, not fictional parable. In that sense, Wolf of Wall Street doesn’t only view money as inevitably turning to greed so much as the ability of wealth to make people wholly blind. Entertaining as the ludicrous fantasy appears, the inevitable cruelty comes as an after effect. Gordon Gekko is pop culture’s poster child for American grievance against the rich. Jordan Belfort is (or was before this movie) a shameful reflection of an unequal system that persistently exploits the poor into believing this is all possible for them. Luckily, a majority of people have empathy.

Wolf of Wall Street 4K UHD screen shot

Video

Slanted by digital grading, the color palette veers toward odd flesh tones, offset by heavy blues. Dolby Vision doesn’t change that, but adds density to the aesthetic. Deep navy suits show spectacular depth, drawing out the hue from even darker shadows.

The latter is where Dolby Vision helps, finding detail within the blacks. No crush here. Wolf of Wall Street features a heavy, bright contrast, but it’s not overly hot in the HDR sense. Intensity doesn’t run high, but it’s still gorgeous. Again, the greater increase comes in the shadows, where true black is a constant. Dimensionality looks sublime.

A mild grain structure is both natural and added by way of mix-and-match cinematography. Thankfully, it’s a constant, and easily resolved. That means detail pours out, even from softer source material. In close, texture is plentiful. Facial definition excels. Medium shots don’t hold up as well as true 4K sources, but it’s a negligible complaint. The overall impression is an improvement over the Blu-ray.

Audio

Reusing the same DTS-HD track from the Blu-ray, ambiance during parties or panicked broker offices spreads the soundstage. There’s equal space when inside diners from clashing plates and jukebox music. It’s satisfying for a drama.

The major audio sequence happens at sea as a hurricane batters the yacht, the winds, rain, and thunder all hitting the boat. Plus, massive waves generate thrust in the low-end equal to the bass generated by the music tracks.

Extras

The UHD (and only the UHD since Paramount doesn’t include a Blu-ray) brings a trio of extras beginning with a 17-minute, basic making-of. In the next bonus, Running Wild, the movie’s crazier sides are explored. A 10-minute roundtable includes DiCaprio, Hill, Scorcese, and others marks the finale.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Movie

A scathing satire of capitalist greed in a post-Reagan world, Wolf of Wall Street is as hilarious as it is an depressing indictment of an entire system.

Overall
3.7
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User Review
2 (2 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 67 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: