Baz Luhrman’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby is both dazzling and dizzying. Although the film has its detractors, it offers an unmissable cinematic experience.
Writer turned bond salesman Nick Carraway rents a cottage in Long Island. Living next door in a huge mansion is mysterious multi-millionaire Jay Gatsby. Nick finds himself being drawn into the life of his wealthy neighbour…
Those expecting a faithful version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal work are unlikely to be fully satisfied by this film. It is Baz Luhrmann’s interpretation of the story, and an ambitious one at that. Once viewers are aware of this (and the abundance of promotion for the film has made this clear), they should find The Great Gatsby an immersive and enjoyable ride.
The main shift from the novel revolves around the tone and representation rather than changes to the narrative. The film uses a lot of the same dialogue from its source material, which is unsurprising given the artistry of Fitzgerald’s prose. Luhrmann instead eschews some of the subtlety of the novel in favour of excess. Elements that are dealt with nuance are shifted to centre stage in this version.
Like the novel, the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy dominates the narrative. However, Luhrmann pushes this further with an almost undivided focus on the relationship. There is less emphasis on Gatsby’s past and rise, except in relation to Daisy. Nick functions almost entirely as a narrator in the film, with much less being made of his interactions with Jordan Baker. The framing device employed in The Great Gatsby is not really necessary. It seems to have been added in to underscore the main narrative as a recollection; with the archive footage and overlayed text feeding into this.
From the opening titles to the final scene, The Great Gatsby is visually sumptuous. The 3D looks fantastic and is employed smartly with the highly stylised look of the film. The cinematography makes the most of this extra dimension. The camera work is at times disorientating in paralleling the frenzied nature of the mood and action.
The costumes and styling are excellent. Much has been made of the modern soundtrack, but it is a fantastic accompaniment to the on-screen action. Leonardo DiCaprio offers a terrific performance as the title character. Carey Mulligan is also strong as Daisy, and Joel Edgerton is finely cast as Tom Buchanan. The only letdown is Tobey Maguire, who is rather flaccid as Nick.
The Great Gatsby is a hymn to excess. A new cinematic version of a beloved book was always going to have some naysayers. But with Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, viewers should sit back and engorge.
Well-known characters dominate this week’s round-up…
Thor: The Dark World
Just before Iron Man 3 hits cinema screens, the first poster for Thor: The Dark World has been revealed. The film reunites Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman. Thor: The Dark World is due for release on 30th October 2013.
Man of Steel
Here is the latest trailer for Man of Steel, one of the most anticipated movies of the summer. Can writers David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan once again weave their magic in a re-telling of DC Comics legend? We will see when the Zack Snyder-directed Man of Steel is released on 14th June 2013.
The Great Gatsby
The soundtrack has been one of the most talked about aspects of The Great Gatsby. Above is a sampler of some of the tracks used in the film. A mixture of covers of well-known songs and samples music from the era the film is set. What else would to expect from Baz Luhrmann? The Great Gatsby is released on 16th May 2013.
The Lone Ranger
Here is the latest trailer for The Lone Ranger. Despite being the sidekick to the title character, it looks as if Johnny Depp’s Tonto may steal the show. The Lone Ranger hits UK screens on 9th August 2013.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The second instalment in The Hunger Games trilogy has a first trailer. Catching Fire has a lot to live up to after the huge success of last year’s The Hunger Games. Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which is due for release on 22nd November 2013.
A new action fantasy, R.I.P.D. looks like it could be a lot of fun. The film stars Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as two undead cops tasked with protecting the world from those who refuse to move to the other side. R.I.P.D. hits UK cinemas on 30th August 2013.
Trailers this week come in the form of Wreck-It Ralph, Django Unchained and The Great Gatsby. Additionally, I have included a music video from Rock of Ages, just because.
Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph appears to be Toy Story but for video games. The tropes of that hugely successfully franchise are apparent in the first trailer for Wreck-It Ralph, directed by Rich Moore. The film looks like it will satisfy a family audience, whilst also referencing video games heavily. Wreck-It Ralph is due for release in February 2013.
The trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s latest, Django Unchained, was released this week. Tarantino has jumped from Nazis to slave owners, with Jamie Foxx playing a slave seeking vengeance and searching for his wife. Leonardo DiCaprio also stars in the film, alongside Tarantino-collaborator Christoph Waltz. Django Unchained will be released in the UK on 18 January 2013.
The Great Gatsby
This trailer has been knocking about for a while, but I thought I would post it to make a Leonardo DiCaprio double bill. Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was never going to be traditional. The novel has many avid fans, and if they can take it as a reinterpretation of Fitzgerald’s classic rather than a straightforward adaptation, then it looks like a lot of fun. The Great Gatsby is due for release in 3D on 26th December 2012.
Rock of Ages
The film version of musical Rock of Ages is out on 13th June 2012. I am seeing it today, and I cannot wait. To get everyone in the mood for the film (well me at least), I thought I would post a music video from Rock of Ages, a cover of the Journey classic ‘Any Way You Want It’. Enjoy!