The Wolf of Wallstreet: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆06 Jan 2015
What impressed me most about this film is that the book it was based on was written by Jordan Belfort, further proving that you can get rich writing a book about getting rich. Although the gratuitous nudity and drug use make it difficult to publicly recommend, the charm of a rags to riches story is certainly enhanced here by revisiting the rags, and the trip back and forth is conveyed with plenty of style.
I felt Leonardo DiCaprio's performance was judged too harshly by those saying he over acted in hopes of sealing an academy award in his rendition of Jordan Belfort. The beginning of the film, which features his character working through a brief stage of worldly naivety, is completely convincing and serves as a stark contrast to the middle of the film, which left him barely recognizable in my eyes. That alone demonstrates his versatility in portraying both the pedestrian sections of the script, as well as the "Oscar baiting" scenes.
In terms of what could be improved, the time ran a bit too long at 3 hours. It may have been served some favors by reducing a few of the many pep rallies that went above and beyond in establishing the mood of a money-hungry investment firm. I found myself re-watching parts of the film, but consistently skipping those scenes in particular (or at least large parts of them). I also felt the connection between Matthew McConaughey's character and Leonardo DiCaprio's character was too thin to keep re-establishing throughout the film. Perhaps if his mentorship had grown past anything but a single drug-fueled lunch, I would have less of a problem believing the impact it had on Jordan's development throughout the film.