Dir: Baz Luhrmann
Release: 10 May 2013
It’s been built up for months and months, and with great relief, we can confirm that The Great Gatsby deserves all the hype it has received. Baz Luhrmann treats audiences to a visually spectacular treat from beginning to end with phenomenal shots and the most vibrant of colours. It’s been criticised as being a little ‘death by green screen’ in places but if you’re a fan of Luhrmann’s other hits like Moulin Rouge, it won’t bother you in the slightest.
The Great Gatsby is set slap bang in the middle of roaring 20s America and is narrated by Nick Carraway (Toby Maguire), who reminisces about his extravagant, lavish party throwing next door neighbour J Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). The mysterious self made millionaire, surrounded by staff in his mansion is fascinating to Nick, who finds himself invited to one of Gatsby’s dazzling shindigs. With Nick’s married cousin Daisy Buchanan, living just across the water, he soon discovers she and Gatsby were previously in a relationship before the war left him penniless. Before he can work out what has happened between the pair, or decipher fact from fiction in Gatsby’s elaborate tales, Nick finds himself swept up in their turbulent love story.
DiCaprio steals the show, hands down and unsurprisngly. When will this man win an Oscar?! He makes an excellent Gatsby and does the film proud, the die hard fans of the book won’t be let down. He does an incredible job in letting the audience see Gatsby at the top of his game, confident and proud and then vulnerable and broken. Toby Maguire also gives an undeniably strong performance, however, we can help but wish an unknown actor had been given the role as it would have made an excellent breakthrough role. Regardless, Leo, Toby and Carey give excellent performances as the three main protagonists.
Have we mentioned the soundtrack yet? Wow! The soundtrack makes the film what it is and turns it from simply a movie set in the twenties to something cutting edge and exciting. You maybe wouldn’t think a conbination of Jay-Z, Beyonce, Lana Del Rey, Will.I.Am and Florence Welch would bring the twenties back to life but be prepared to be surprised. We loved Lana Del Rey’s Young and Beautiful that crept seamlessly into the film and set the scene perfectly. Even if you don’t get a chance to see the film, the soundtrack itself is a must have.
We agree, there is maybe more of Baz Luhrmann in the film than there is F Scott Fitzgerald, but don’t let that put you off. It’s a very different experience to reading the book in an English lesson! For those who didn’t read the book in school, go in with no preconceptions, you’ll be pleasently surprised. If this film doesn’t make you want to don a flapper dress, and hit the dancefloor then nothing will.