The latest adaptation of The Great Gatsby retains most of the story generations have fallen in love with. Unfortunately, Baz Luhrmann‘s gaudy style and fast cuts are too distracting. There’s still some magic from the F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel there, but the director can’t decide between being over-the-top or toned down.
- Director: Baz Luhrmann
- Writers: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce,
- Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke
- Cinematography by: Simon Duggan
- Original Music by: Craig Armstrong
Nick Carraway (Maguire) reflects on the time when he met his mysterious neighbor Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio). In the blink of an eye, Carraway’s quiet summer is filled with parties, secrets and betrayal amidst the high class society of New York. When he discovers Gatsby’s love for his cousin Daisy (Mulligan) he begins to discover who the strange millionaire really is.
- The Costumes: The wardrobe and production design for Luhrmann’s films are always a highlight. Gatsby takes the style of the roaring twenties and adds splashes of color on any and everything. When you see the flashy sets you want to join in on the fun.
- Most of the Story’s Still Intact: At least Luhrmann and company had the decency to keep a large chunk of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story intact, even down to the dialogue. The Great Gatsby retains the soap opera-like drama that we all remember from the novel. Although a couple small plot points were cut out for some reason. Also, it would have been fine if the screenwriters pulled back on Gatsby’s overuse of the phrase “Old sport.”
- The Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby was perfect casting, along with Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan. They both conveyed the weight of history between their characters and the complicated feelings they had for each other. While Isla Fisher’s version of Myrtle is a little different from the book, her interpretation fit in with the world Luhrmann created.
- Tobey Maguire: Tobey Maguire can be a good actor when he feels like it, but he doesn’t seem interested in playing Carraway. By the middle of the film, when we’re in the thick of the drama, he comes off as whiny and slightly bored. He picks it up by the end, but at that point the main character isn’t even interesting anymore.
- Luhrmann Being Luhrmann, Or Not: It’s frustrating how up and down Luhrmann is with his directing style. One minute he lets the classic story speak for itself, and the next he’s drowning us in overlapping shots that serve no purpose but to point out that it’s a Baz Luhrmann film. It just doesn’t work.
- Cuts Galore: The editing came off as rough and was too overwhelming at times. That’s a serious problem when you’re dealing with a movie that’s shot in 3D. You’re constantly cutting back and forth in such a short amount of time. The audience’s eyes can’t pick up the effect in the shot. It’s tiring trying to get used to the inconsistent flow of action.
- Say No to 3D: The Great Gatsby may have been shot in 3D but it didn’t need to be. While it may have been effective, it served no purpose for the film. The nature of the story and the settings didn’t suit 3D and were wasted.
- Who Let The Soundtrack Get in Here: This soundtrack had no business accompanying this film. It was a distraction more than anything else. The score was fine, but when they started pumping out an alternate version of “Crazy in Love” it’s hard not feel embarrassed for the misplaced music.
The Great Gatsby is a jumbled up film but it’s still dramatic enough to keep people’s attention—but not ours.
The Rating: 5.5/10
The Great Gastby is out in theaters now, presented in 2D and 3D.
Will you be seeing The Great Gatsby this weekend?