Top critical review
Too long, poor character development, but solid acting all around
on June 24, 2014
Disclaimer: I turned off after hour two, planning to resume later but never did...
This film at 3 hours long could have been much more sophisticated with better character development. The first two hours were essentially like watching a National Lampoons movie about a frat house, except the characters are rich and the acting is better.
Main character played by DiCaprio starts out a "good guy". Rather than exploiting the 3-hours to show a gradual evolution from straight-laced over-achiever to maniacal, sex- and drug-obsessed white collar criminal, the film simply jettisons the character from the former to the latter, so the audience doesn't get a chance to feel bad for him, or to fondly remember what he used to be, or to think of him as the product of his environment, instead he's just another punk who's gotten rich by stepping on other people.
I think the director wants us to like or at least pity this character, but it's hard to when he is so one-dimensional.
Also it seemed to also be trying to mix in a mob theme at times but this was inconsistent. There were times when I felt like I was watching a present-day Casino or Good Fellas, but it was missing the substance that both those films had, and the conflict of simultaneously liking and despising the characters.
So why, might you ask, am I giving this film 3-stars? For one, I didn't watch the last hour and will give it the benefit of the doubt that it would have regained my interest at some point. Two, acting was very good all around. Three, it made me chuckle multiple times. Four, it didn't try to be politically correct.