11 May 2013 | TheConnoisseurReviews
"The Great Gatsby" Review
Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby," is fairly accurate to the classic novel and keeps most of its themes intact. However, Luhrmann's own flair adds a new dimension to the story. Visually this film is incredibly stunning. From grand sets to the detailed period dresses, this film is a treat for the eyes. Never once does it not take your breath away from its impressive scenery. Many people might be worried about the updated music, but there is nothing to fear. Jay-Z's track works incredible well with the film and complements the era in which it is set.
The direction in this film is impeccable. The cinematography is marvelous and really lets the viewer absorb the sheer artistry that has gone into making this film. Luhrmann keeps a high level of energy throughout the film and the party sequences are choreographed and edited in a way that it makes you feel envious of not being apart of it. Editing in the film is seamless and really keeps the viewer engaged. A common criticism the film receives is that it is more style than substance, however, I must disagree. This modern interpretation doesn't forget its themes and morals from the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald tale.
Performances are phenomenal by the entire cast. Carey Mulligan's Daisy is every bit as careless as one would expect, but she also manages to show some complexity in her role. Tobey Maguire is a great avatar for us to take on as we enter this film. He is very much the viewer as he sees everything happening, but is ultimately helpless to change anything. The true standouts in the film are Joel Edgerton and Leonardo DiCaprio. Edgerton as Tom Buchanan brings a lot of personality to his character that I thought was absent in the book. He's a bit more tender and more vulnerable, especially when he finds out his wife's secret. The true award recognition worthy performance comes from DiCaprio's Gatsby. He hones on being a respectable, but idealistically insane man. His performance is not only compelling, but also charming and quit hopeful. He truly deserves some recognition come Oscar season.
Overall, "The Great Gatsby" is a fantastically entertaining and enthralling film. It is horribly underrated as it is filled with awards worthy visuals, sets, costumes, direction, and performances. It is a great time at the movies for anyone that enjoys the classic novel or who haven't even heard of it. Not only is this film dramatically satisfying, but also quite humorous and a spectacle like no other. I give it 4.5/5, a great adaptation of one of the greatest novels ever written.