The era, the fashion, the soundtrack, Baz Luhrmann’s impressive back catalogue (I lurve Moulin Rouge)… I was all ready to poo poo the critics and get down to seriously enjoying me some Great Gatsby action. And, to some extent, I did.
Luhrmann’s touch of magic is evident throughout. Slightly kooky, with sweeping atmospheric shots across city scapes and a contemporary soundtrack accompanying a story set in a different era. The combination of shots of 1920’s opulence set to a bling-tastic Jay-Z soundtrack should have worked. And it did, again, to some extent, but it wasn’t as amazing as it perhaps coulda/shoulda been. In fact, it was Lana Del Ray’s haunting ‘Young and Beautiful’ which became the stand-out track of the film.
I’ve not read the book, in fact, I purposefully avoided reading it before seeing the film, as, in my experience, films rarely live up to their paperback counterparts. With this in mind, it’s difficult to comment on whether the casting was up to scratch, but I can say that Leonardo DiCaprio seemed to play a good Gatsby, portraying him as a man who had everything and nothing all at the same time. A man who was surrounded by everyone, but oh so lonely. He was charming, eccentric and ever so slightly thoughtful. Carey Mulligan played a graceful Daisy and Tobey Maguire a wide-eyed, innocent Nick Carroway.
The fashion is gorgeous, yet there’s no single outfit which makes you gasp with desire. The parties are fun, but kind of reminded me of the hedonistic nights at legendary Ibiza superclub night, Manumission. The story line played out well, but sometimes time seemed to drag and although I can’t see what section they could have cut down (or out) we did seem to be in the cinema for a bottom numbing length of time. There are some very funny moments, as well as some heart wrenchingly sad ones. But it’s more like an emotional ride on the tea cups, rather than the rollercoaster which I guess I was expecting. That said, the story unfolds nicely in the way that the truth about Gatsby’s character is revealed and the way in which Nick learns more about human nature.
Another bug bear was all of the obvious balls/wine glasses/curtains/fans/pointy fingers/reaching arms which had been added to make the show more appropriate for 3D audiences. Let me tell you something Mr Luhrmann et al, for us bods who don’t chose to watch it in 3D because 3D gives us a stonking headache, all of those 3D bits get really annoying after a while. Can we just stop getting so excited about 3D and concentrate on giving the film a bit more oomph instead, maybe?
In conclusion? Well, it’s been difficult for me to write a review of this film. It isn’t a bad film. Some of it is fab. But, whether it’s because it’s been over-hyped, or my expectations of it were too high it’s not as an amazing as I was expecting. If nothing else, party shops and fancy dress stores will do well out of it. If Moulin Rouge was the party theme of choice a few years back, I can see this being the summer (and Christmas for that matter) of the Great Gatsby get together.
Best enjoyed with a tummy full of Chiquito’s goodness.
Fabulous rating: 3.5/5 (old sport)
To find out what other films I’m looking forward to checking out, take a look at this post.