Review of 'The Great Gatsby'

the_great_gatsby.jpg The story begins with Nick Carraway (played in a slightly under-whelming way by Tobey Maguire) in a Sanatorium telling the story of his moving to New York next door to the mysterious Jay Gatsby (played in a very mature and emotional way by Leonardo DiCaprio who has moved a long way from Titanic) who throws massive weekly parties in his massive mansion. No one knows where the money is coming from or where Gatsby has come from though rumours abound. Carraway slowly gets into the confidence of Gatsby and learns how his house looks across a stretch of water to the love of his life Daisy Buchanan (played convincingly by Carey Mulligan) who is now married to the rich, callous and cheating Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). All his life Gatsby though his overwhelming optimism has achieved whatever he wanted and Daisy is his ultimate prize - How far will he go to make her his? One of the questions throughout is whether it is possible to turn back time?

The big-screen adaptation of the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel by Baz Luhrman (director of the riotous Moulin Rouge) who brings his vibrant style very successfully to this movie which benefits greatly. The wealth and flamboyance of the story is on the screen for all to see. The eye candy here is quite amazing and the evocation of 30s New York is very convincing. You cannot help but get drawn into the movie…of course this is also largely the convincing performances by the actors.

Generally all of the performances here are amazing with the exception of Macquire who I can't help think looks wooden (perhaps this is just me who can only see Spiderman on the screen whenever he appears) which is a bit unfortunate because, as the narrator, appears an awful lot - I did not really feel the emotion.

An amazing effort that I am happy to have seen on the big screen. I am not sure how much the 3-D adds to the movie but I could not help but have the sense of it drawing me in a bit closer to what was happening - From the very beginning of the film with the black and white flat image transforming into full-colour 3D I felt as if it was pulling me in and it never let go. I think here it is quite subtle throughout but enough to keep me there. No need for gimmicks of things flying into the camera, just classically paced big-screen film storytelling.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2013-06-02

Directed by: Baz Luhrmann

Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

Year: 2013

Length: 142 minutes

Genre: Melodrama

Other reviewed films by Baz Luhrmann: