This one has been on my checklist for a while, so once again, apologies.
As a fan of Baz Luhrman, this one had anticipation written all over it. On paper, it probably is quite an easy project – a seemingly simple love story set during the prohibition era, laced with glitz and glamour. The thing is, with Luhrman, you can expect him to make it an overload for the senses.
After his epic love story/drama Australia, The Great Gatsby looks like an opportunity for Lurhman to make a return to form when it comes to his trademark extravagance behind the camera. What with the modernised soundtrack and the beautiful costumes, it is easy to get sucked into this carefree world.
However, this is part of the film’s main problem – the mystery behind millionaire Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) and the simpleness of his love story with Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) are lost in the colourfulness of the world. It seems that the core themes behind the story; class differences, recklessness and social politics, are heavily glamourised, possibly with the aim to engage it with modern audiences, only for it to resembling an empty shell.
On the other hand, it does look pretty, casting no doubt that Luhrman has a unique vision. The casting is also quite good; DiCaprio played the tortured hero quite well, hiding his wasted heart behind old-school smiles and charm. It is interesting to see him and real-life BFF Tobey Maguire (Nick Carraway) together as the brotherly chemistry clearly shows on the big screen and Carey Mulligan is quite angelic; her pixie appearance perfectly fitting in with the era, contrasting her with her rugged husband, played by Joel Edgerton.
The Great Gatsby is an eye-catching film and great performances from DiCaprio and Edgerton, but the hard-hitting themes of social politics are pushed aside for spectacular visual effects.
Thanks for reading.