27 May, 2013


It's time Baz Luhrmann retired.

For starters, 3D is a complete waste on a movie like this. Nothing about a period piece of this nature calls for 3D, but then 3D has always been a bad idea. It's a gimmick, like overly-applied makeup, and just as hideous to behold.

That aside, this movie completely fails to deliver. Its highlighting failures are the choices in music and the general feel of the movie. Nothing, really nothing, gives justification for modern hip-hop and rap (produced by Jay-Z and some people who can't spell bullets) to be used instead of jazz in a period piece set in the 1920s.

The party scenes in the movie are pretentious. Rather that showing a setting of elegant parties which - though a touch avant garde - still maintain a level of class and decency, Mr Luhrmann replaces them with a blend of ridiculous extravagance and crudity which is becoming typical of him. The same nonsense can be seen in his other movies, Romeo & Juliet and Moulin Rouge. In both of those he also used contemporary music and, though they were terrible, at least with Romeo & Juliet the modern music fit with the contemporary setting.

The set pieces of a Baz Luhrmann film are easily spotted: At least one completely over-the-top party in which lewdness is the order of the day, one unnecessary scene of lovemaking (which is completely unwarranted in a movie based in The Great Gatsby), shots which alternate between speeding up and slowing down, and a terrible dependency on C.G.I.

By contrast the acting of Leonardo DiCaprio was surprisingly good. He was the highlight of the show.
Tobey Maguire playing Nick Carraway was a mistake. He does not fit the role at all. What's more, Luhrmann's decision to replace his narrative with a discussion between him and a psychologist was painful to watch, and very odd as we see that he is actually living with his psychologist by the end of the movie.
Daisy was inaccurate as she appeared more contested and a stronger character. She defies her role (as in the book) of a frivolous and immoral character, which is the core tragedy of Gatsby's love for and faith in her.

Baz Luhrmann's name up in glittering diamante-esque lighting is all one needs to know about this movie. Luhrmann wants to make a name for himself as the man who does fabulous movies filled with cabarets, exorbitant party scenes, and a daring contemporary soundtrack. What he ends up with is a pile of rubbish that disrespects its source material. If Luhrmann really wants to direct something of this nature, then he can bloody well find a new story, rather than torture an existing one. Either of the older movies (1974 and 2000) would prove a much better watch.