The Wolf of Wall Street review

Martin Scorsese is no stranger to making films about criminals. Yet in the past he's mainly concerned himself with gangsters, through gritty efforts such as Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Casino and The Departed. His latest film tackles a completely different type of law-breaker and does so in a way so tonally removed from pretty much anything he's ever done before that it feels like the septuagenarian filmmaker has found a whole new lease of life.

Based on the memoirs of a former New York stockbroker who was jailed for stock market manipulation, The Wolf of Wall Street is a biting satire that (like some sort of head-on crash involving Animal House and Wall Street) plays every bit as loud and exuberant as the outrageous characters it follows.

Chief among them, of course, is the 'Wolf' himself, Jordan Belfort. And in his fifth collaboration with Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio more than lives up to his reputation as one of the greatest actors of his generation, delivering a tour-de-force performance as his character submerges himself into every depravity imaginable (and quite a few more besides). As much as the movie belongs to DiCaprio, he's backed up by a flawless supporting cast with Jonah Hill proving his chops as Jordan's best-friend-cum-partner-in-crime Donnie Azoff.

What it lacks in terms of sheer drama compared to Scorsese's previous crime epics, The Wolf of Wall Street more than makes up for with humour. This is a comedy of the darkest, blackest kind, but will leave you laughing louder than any Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell flick has managed in a very long time. It's going to be tough to top the sight of Jordan's drugged-up effort at getting into his car – and the subsequent fight with Donnie – when it comes to the year's funniest moments in cinema.

So, while it may not be subtle and threatens to stretch your patience with a three-hour running time, it's impossible not to get swept up in Scorsese's exhilarating examination of greed and excess.

Picture: Despite its disc-bursting length, The Wolf of Wall Street brings plenty of razzle-dazzle with its AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode.

Colours run frequently towards the warmer end of the spectrum, although this has more to do with the characters' bright clothes and deep tans than any additional post-production tinkering – as demonstrated by the purity of any whites that appear on screen (particularly Donnie's teeth).

Fine detailing also impresses throughout, revealing plenty of subtle facial blemishes in close-ups of the cast. Going hand-in-hand with this are the sharpness inherent in the cinematography and the perfectly rendered black levels. With banding, noise and artefacting all notably absent, it's impossible to view Universal Pictures' hi-def treatment of Wolf... as anything less than a resounding triumph.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: Even if it doesn't deliver the pounding dynamics that some people would consider to be the essential components of a killer lossless mix, The Wolf of Wall Street's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is a high-quality affair. Indeed, the intricately worked sound design brings together layer after layer of audio elements, from dialogue to atmospheric effects, and seemingly does so with incredible ease and skill.

Every location brings its own distinctive soundscape, from the confined, slightly muffled interior of a limousine to the almost never-ending expanse of the Stratton Oakmount office, full of ringing telephones and shouting stockbrokers. The track's immaculate placement and positioning is key to the effectiveness of conjuring up these spaces, as well as ensuring that dialogue sounds crystal-clear whilst still feeling like a natural part of the soundfield.

As we've come to expect from a Scorsese film, The Wolf of Wall Street's soundtrack is packed to the brim with music, running the gamut from Bo Diddley's Road Runner to Sir Mix-A-Lot's Baby Got Back. Each track soars from the speakers with verve.
Audio rating: 4.5/5

Extras: Universal's Blu-ray serves up a trio of featurettes to support the movie. It's not the most extravagant collection of bonus goodies you'll ever see (and certainly less than this cracking flick deserves), but is certainly an improvement on Paramount's US platter, which could only manage one of them.

The Wolf Pack (17 minutes) is a pretty standard Making of…, albeit with particular focus given to how much freedom Scorsese gave the actors (and himself) to improvise during the lengthy shoot. Any initial fears that Running Wild (11 minutes) is simply going to rehash the same ground are quickly put to rest as the focus shifts onto the excessive behaviour of the real-life characters and how it was recreated on screen. Finally, The Wolf of Wall Street Round Table (11 minutes) gets Scorsese, DiCaprio, Hill and writer Terence Winter together to chat about the process of making the film.
Extras rating: 2/5

We say: Stunning picture and sound will leave you greedy for more where Scorsese's latest hit is concerned

The Wolf of Wall Street, Universal Pictures, All-region BD, £25 Approx