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'The Great Gatsby' with Leonardo DiCaprio, directed by Baz Luhrmann

By Caroline Urbielewicz,
Will the film live up to all the hype?

The much anticipated adaptation of the American classic The Great Gatsby is a visually captivating, tantalizing picture that is not to be missed.

Director Baz Luhrman returned to his Romeo and Juliet star Leonardo DiCaprio to recreate F. Scott Fitzgerald's timeless "Roaring 20's" era novel. In various press stops this week, Tobey MacGuire, who plays narrator Nick Carraway, shared that his friend DiCaprio suggested him for the role. The real life friendship lended itself nicely to the chemistry between Nick and Gatsby.

DiCaprio is as talented (and handsome) as ever. He takes Gatsby's cool demeanor and effortlessly shifts to a lovestruck boy in the presence of the undeniable Daisy (Carey Mulligan). His performance and appearance strikingly resemble that of Titanic. Mulligan too brings the character of delicate but conflicted Daisy Buchanan to life. Aussie actor Joel Edgerton is unrecognizable as stubborn and adulterous Tom Buchanan. His mistress is played by the lovely (also Australian) Isla Fischer.

The film begins with Carraway in a psychiatric ward, not true to the novel, but an added feature that plays nicely with the existent plot and provides an ending twist. It takes quite sometime before we are introduced to Gatsby, but this mysterious and tragic character deserves an intensified commencement.

The perceptibly and theatrics are nothing less than what would be excepted of Luhrman. The film takes risks with music choice; the score provided by Jay-Z features mainly his own music but also the likes of Florence and the Machine and Lana Del Ray among others. The modern music plays along nicely to this hip and eccentric rendition. Another risk: releasing the film in 3D, which was not necessarily vital but adds to the excitement of the delayed release.

Despite the contemporary soundtrack and illustrious visual display, the movie stays true to the dynamics of the characters as well as the themes that resonate with the story's fans today. Symbolic images like the green light and broken clock will be caught by the book's readers. Luhrman has stated he believes Gatsby is a love story, as lost love and obsession with the past are conflicts these characters face. While the film focuses on the decadence and lavish lifestyles led by the focal characters, several important scenes take place in the city slums where "God is always watching." Old money vs. new money and the power of human aspiration are portrayed nicely as well.

Of coarse there will be naysayers, those who feel the book could never be served justice. As enduring as the celebrated story will remain, Luhrman's Gatsby too will be one to remember… going down as one of the greats.

 

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