DVD Review: 'Wolf' shows Scorsese's thematic bite

Martin Scorsese's sharp exposé “The Wolf of Wall Street” is the white-collar version of “Goodfellas” and “Casino”: it tells the same sort of historical/confessional story, and follows a very similar template. Much like Ray Liotta's Henry Hill and Robert De Niro's Ace Rothstein, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) narrates this autobiographical tale of lawbreaking scumbags. All three films expose the procedural details and cultural context of criminal conspiracies in our midst.

On the surface, Belfort seems like a twin of Jay Gatsby, DiCaprio's last role — a parvenu, who rises to great worth through shady dealings and likes to throw big wild parties. But Belfort is a lot harder to sympathize with. He's crass in nearly every way; his one virtue initially appears to be a sense of loyalty to friends — and even that vanishes when he's facing a jail sentence.

The mobsters in the two earlier films were violent murderers; Belfort and his fellow Wall Street stock manipulators may be “nicer” people in their daily lives, but their absolutely amoral hedonism and megalomania probably inflicted a greater degree of hurt in aggregate.

The new Blu-ray/DVD is a bare-bones release, with only a very standard issue 17-minute “making of” short added. The quality of the film's transfer lives up to the expectations we now have for the home video of recent movies.

The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount Home Media, DVD, $29.99;DVD/Blu-ray combo, $39.99)


ANDY KLEIN is the film critic for Marquee. He can also be heard on "FilmWeek" on KPCC-FM (89.3).

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