The Wizard of Lies Blu-ray review

Oct 05, 2017- Permalink

HBO’s The Wizard of Lies takes a look at Bernie Madoff’s real-life Ponzi scheme that cost his clients over 60 billion dollars. It also delves into the family dynamics and how it destroyed the Madoffs, with their son Mark committing suicide two years after his father’s arrest. Robert De Niro portrays Bernie, while Michelle Pfeiffer takes on the role of his wife, Ruth. HBO Canada gave us an opportunity to look at the Blu-ray release.

The AVC encoded 1080p transfer comes in the production’s original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Shot digitally, a lot of the office and prison scenes appear quite flat with a muted palette, but then again, whose mind thinks first of prisons and offices when they hear “colours pop”? The palette warms up when looking back at the family sharing happier times. Detail levels are very high though some get lost in darker scenes and black levels are okay. Again, this is a made for TV movie, not the latest edition of Star Wars.

On the audio side, viewers get an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track as well as French DTS 5.1 and Spanish DTS 2.0 tracks. Subtitles are available in English SDH, French, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish. Though some courtroom scenes occasionally use the surround tracks to great effect, this isn’t the type of film that’s presenting an immersive experience. The all-important dialogue is crisp and clear.

On the extra side, remembering this is a TV movie, there is a short 7 minute featurette that features interviews with director Barry Levinson and the cast. Obviously a promo for the flick that aired on HBO.

Should you be adding The Wizard of Lies to your home library? With great performances by the cast and Levinson’s direction, it turns one of the largest financial frauds in history into a compelling look at the man who created it. It’s worth a look.