The Great Gatsby (2013), Director: Baz Luhrmann, 12A

There was much chatter about Life of Pi being an unfilmable novel but, to his credit, Ang Lee did a wonderful job bringing the story to the big screen. Does F Scott Fitzgerald's classic of American literature also fall into that category? It means so much to many people, so surely it can only fail to disappoint? And you'd quite rightly think it was MEHHH from the critics' reviews.
Now, C'MONNNNN it's BAZ LUHRMANN. It's going to be a glitterball of prettiness, extravagance, shiny costumes, larger than life characters and song and dance. It's basically Eurovision. From Lurhmann's track record, you know what to expect and a gentle adaptation is not it. Luhrmann's Gatsby will leave you spellbound if you choose to accept his journey. Don't be a snob - grab a champagne cocktail and dance, old sport, dance!
From its opening moments, Gatsby is a gorgeous thing. Our New York narrator and main lead Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) takes us on a spectacular spectacular of his enigmatic and elusive rich neighbour Jay Gatsby (Leonardo Di Caprio), whilst across the bay lives his beautiful and bored cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) and her polo playing rich husband Tom (Joel Edgerton). Every weekend, the great and the good of New York descend on Gatsby's mansion for lavish parties. Rumours and gossip rumble throughout about who Gatsby is and why he's never seen. Nick, however, builds trust - and a friendship - with Gatsby, which leads to a revelation about Daisy and a fateful favour asked.
All leads are fantastic - Di Caprio especially, as the confused and pining Gatsby. When he turns to smile at Nick for the first time on the pier, you too believe in that rare smile. Mulligan plays Daisy well; careless, vapid and oh so lovely, wearing darling outfits and flitting from thing to thing. Di Caprio's first looks at his long-lost love Daisy are reminiscent of when he is peeping at Claire Danes through the fish tank in Romeo & Juliet.
But back to the glitz and glamour! The first party scene is outstanding - an excessive, visual romp of sight and sound. Also captivating is the balmy and sexy party at Myrtle's (Isla Fisher) apartment in the heart of New York during summer; Tom's mistress has some fantastic Birds of Paradise friends who wouldn't look out of place in Priscilla, Queen of The Desert. It's all such good fun! It really is...until the end.
And Gatsby is as bleak and tragic as they come. After all of the glitter, the dancing, the jazz/hip-hop mash-up (kudos to Jay-Z, a FORMIDABLE soundtrack), Luhrmann takes us back down to earth with a HUGE bump; we crash like the great 1929 crash that is about to come. He does tragedy well - nods to Moulin Rouge and Romeo & Juliet - and in the most lavish fashion. Prepare for your heart to break just a little, as the beauty shatters into tiny pieces.
4/5 gin rickeys

Comments

  1. DiCaprio is amazing, as usual, but everything else seems to be falling apart around him here. Good review Bicko.

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