It’s a terrific adaptation that succeeds not only as a work of cinema but also, wonderfully, as proof of the novel’s greatness. In short, the picture rebukes the revisionists even while entertaining them.
Amidst all the fireworks and the cascading champagne and the insanely over-the-top parties, we’re reminded again and again that The Great Gatsby is about a man who spends half a decade constructing an elaborate monument to the woman of his dreams.
Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is the first must-see film of Hollywood’s summer season, if for no other reason than its jaw-dropping evocation of Roaring ’20s New York — in 3-D, no less.
Now comes director Baz Luhrmann, who’s incapable of taking anything literally, and what do we get? The “Gatsby” that, of three I’ve seen and two I’ve read about, seems most faithful to the spirit of Fitzgerald’s superbly sad book. His audacity pays off in a way that may not exactly reproduce the novel but continually illuminates it.
When the camera glides down a pier to settle for the first time on Gatsby's face, it's a movie-star moment of the sort we don't often get anymore, and there aren't many actors who could pull off Gatsby's mixture of confident charisma and pathetic vulnerability.
As a purely sensory experience at the movies you're hard-pressed to find anything more dazzling than the first 90 minutes of The Great Gatsby, when Luhrmann's riotous amusements make anything possible.
Generally favorable reviews- based on 623 Ratings
May 10, 2013Saw this when it opened. Had low expectations because of movie critics who obviously grew up in the wrong era. The quality of the book is revived perfectly; It's a period peace, but transcends period with its subtle hints of modern music and style. Every actor was perfectly cast. It's heavy use of Art Deco (my favorite architectural style) fills the screen with beauty that reaches for the heavens, however unattainable they were and still are.
Gatsby looks to the past not with nostalgia, but with regret of what was and what will never be.
p.s. I am usually very anti-3d but this movies 3d really pulls you into the grandness of it all.… Full Review »
May 10, 2013As a huge fan of DiCaprio, Mulligan, Fitzgerald and Lurhmann, I went in with pretty high expectations. Sure enough, the acting, direction and script are top-notch, if a little too faithful to the source material in letter, while being wildly all over the place in tone, leading to a bloated, overlong production.
That said, I'd rather take something ambitious over the safe treatment any day: within these 2 1/2 hours, there are moments of incredible power, and the excesses of the time period are well demonstrated through the wicked party scenes.
Gatsby's parties are the highlight recalling modern mega-raves or top-notch Vegas clubs with the energy amped to 11, their bombast and spectacle threaten to overwhelm the rest of the film. If only Luhrmann could find a way to ensure that his film's visual dynamism didn't go head-to-head with anything that might be considered subtle... the director's over-abundant style robs the film of is realism: it takes place in a world that's decorated, lit, and shot as if it were an ethereal realm somehow divorced from the everyday, and like its titular character, the film does go above and beyond what's needed to impress.
Therein lies the film's biggest problem: the weight of Gatsby's ambitions and the non-stop eye-popping visuals coupled with lightning fast editing takes a toll on the flow of the story. For most of the film, Luhrmann doesn't let his scenes attain an organic flow of their own. His camera swivels through the air as if more interested in the set decoration than his own stars, and the edits rarely slow down even during the most intimate sequences.
Still, the performances are great all across the board. DiCaprio is far and away the standout, Maguire's Carroway is thankfully subtle (although his voice overs get to be a bit much), Carey Mulligan (my waifu) brings a real heart and soul to an underwritten and unlikeable Daisy (an unfortunate result of the film following its source material too slavishly), and Joel Edgerton makes a great Tom Buchanan. Perhaps it's telling of the strength of the source material and cast that the human element shines through despite Luhrmann's excesses.… Full Review »
May 11, 2013Baz Luhrmann really has outdone himself in this film. The cast is beautiful as is the script. The scenes are a visual feast. It is as if Luhrmann reached into Fitzgerald's vision of the 20's, pulled out the heart of it and merged it with what society is today, over nine decades later. Alongside personal strife, we see social inequality, abuse of drugs and alcohol, political and moral corruption, and the failure of financial institutions and their responsibility to people. This film will make you feel that these issues will always be relevant, and that not much changes from generation to generation.
The achingly romantic and hopeful Gatsby is played impeccably by DiCaprio. He has aged into a beautiful man while still possessing those boyish good looks. The beginning of the film has the viewer itching to see Gatsby and hear him speak, and when he finally appears he holds on and captivates throughout the film. The film may awaken something in you, a memory of when you were crazy in love with a person or in love with an idea for what your life should be. DiCaprio embodies a dream and makes you root for him, even though he is shown to be a liar and a man who is desperately trying to steal another's wife- all that does not matter because we see the gentle child-like frailty in him and identify with it. DiCaprio is an excellent actor and was perfect for the role.
I must say that I didn't think that Mulligan can pull the role of Daisy, who in my mind was supposed to be a flawless beauty. However, she didn't disappoint. It made Gatsby's love and desire for her even more fascinating- she was beautiful to him and that's all that mattered. Mulligan was able to play the spoiled and dazed rich girl well, while adding an emotional dimension to the character. Tobey Mcguire definitely held his own, and his story line had an interesting deviation from the novel which was enjoyable. All in all I think it is a must see this year for movie buffs.… Full Review »