Saturday, 8 June 2013

The Great Gatsby (2013) Cinema Review

Review By Patrick Challis

Written By Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce Based on the Novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Directed By Baz Luhrmann

Drama, Romance


Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsy
Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan
Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson
Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway
Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan
Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker
Amitabh Bachchan as Meyer Wolfsheim

Certificate 12A


An adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Long Island-set novel, where Midwesterner Nick Carraway is lured into the lavish world of his neighbor, Jay Gatsby.

Soon enough, however, Carraway will see through the cracks of Gatsby's nouveau riche existence, where obsession, madness, and tragedy await.


I am a big fan of Baz Luhrmann and his unique way of making everything so OTT yet still making it about the characters themselves under that glossy surface.  Then I started reading the reviews for this version of the classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Some of them were absolutely brutal about the movie and I have to admit, I was beginning to wonder if he'd gone a bit too far with his style after the sheer amount of criticism leveled at the movie.

Boy was I ever wrong.  This movie is absolutely superb and Luhrmann really has a great sense of how to make the movie seem jam packed full  of style and decadence all while getting some absolutely brilliant performances from the cast.

The reason Fitzgerald's book still works today is that at the heart of the suspense and decadence is a well thought out romance.  That's the case here too.  The movie really throws the style of the period at the viewer and that really draws you in to the story.  It is true that the first few minutes are a little bit muddled in that quite a bit happens in a really short period of time but then it settles down and Luhrmann ramps up the quality superbly.

When the characters slowly but surely start to tell the story of Gatsby himself and how they met him, the movie completely hooks the viewer in to their lives.

Leonardo DiCaprio is fast churning out some absolutely amazing performances.  First 'The Departed', the 'Shutter Island' and 'Django Unchained', DiCaprio is rapidly becoming one of the actors that I will watch in a movie no matter what the movie is.  He gives a wonderful performance as Gatsby.  One part mentally troubled, one part rich man full of style and decadence and one part love struck, the performance is mesmerising.  I honestly couldn't take my eyes off of him whenever he was on the screen.

It's the same with the rest of the cast.  Maguire gives an equally good performance as Callaway, starting the movie off as an innocent and doe eyed young man and ending it as a jaded, bitter alcoholic.  He more than holds his own against the powerhouse performance by DiCaprio but it's not just the DiCaprio / Maguire show, far from it.  The rest of the cast seem to inhabit their roles with absolute gusto and exuberance.

The look of the movie and especially the costumes, are positively stunning.  In fact, I would even go so far as to say that they are exquisite.  That's most true in the party scenes hosted by Gatsby himself.  The sheer amount of detail put  in to those scenes is incredible.  The costumes, the settings, even down to the instruments.  You could watch this movie over and over again and still notice new things.

In all honesty, ignore the reviews.  I get the feeling that they're only given it such bad ratings because there were a few changes from the classic novel.  In my opinion, I don't think the changes hurt the story at all.  They worked really well in the framework of the movie itself.

It's more than worth getting out to see this movie.  It's stunningly beautiful, well acted and the music/settings combine to really bring the style of the period to the forefront.  Strangely, Luhrmann once again uses modern songs amongst the older style ones but they really combine well, especially in the party scenes that have to be seen to be believed.


Movie 4/5

1 comment:

  1. A worthwhile watch, with costumes, visuals and characterizations to keep audiences content. Good review Pat.