Certificate: 12ARunning Time: 143 minutes
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton
Director: Baz Luhrmann
In The Great Gatsby, Baz Luhrmann treats us to his vision of Fitzgerald’s most famous story. A hedonistic, CGI drenched 1925 New York filled of bootleg booze, sumptuous costumes and an anachronistic soundtrack. It also gives us another charismatically brilliant performance from Leonardo DiCaprio as mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby.
The story is told through narrator Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) as he moves in next door to Gatsby and becomes embroiled in the decadant lifestyle and his attempts to lure the married Daisy Buchanan into his orbit.
DiCaprio is outstanding as Gatsby but it is the casting of Carey Mulligan that strikes the wrong note here. Her perfomace is too ethereal and underplayed to capture Fitzgerald’s Daisy who is by turns a cruel and selfish character. Too often you find yourself looking at her costumes rather than be drawn in by her performance. Maguire and Joel Edgerton both give solid performances as Nick Carraway and Daisy’s snobbish husband Tom.
It has often been said that The Great Gatsby is unfilmable. The great and good of the industry have tried and failed to do justice to ‘The Great American Novel’. For the most part, Baz Luhrmann’s Gatsby follows in their footsteps, not quite capturing the emotional nuances each character struggles and taking liberties by adding an entirely uneccesary framing device with Carraway.
While much of The Great Gatsby is style over substance, Lurhmann has been faithful to the original novel while overlaying it with his own unique visual style. He’s also introduced a whole new generation to The Great Gatsby – an that can only be a good thing.