REVIEW: The Great Gatsby

After being away for a few years, it was about time Baz Luhrmann burst back onto our cinema screens with a new breathtaking film. This time around, it was the turn of the Great Gatsby.

The run up to the Great Gatsby has been a long and turbulent one. Rumours for casting started way back in 2010, with Amanda Seyfried rumoured to play Daisy Buchanan after the announcement of Leonardo di Caprio as Gatsby and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway. Filming started back in 201, not long after Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton and Isla Fisher joined the cast. The first trailer was released a year ago, back in May 2012, telling the world Gatsby’s mansion would be open at Christmas. Not long after this, the film was pushed back with Gatsby’s home finally being opened to us last week.
Based on the 1925 novel of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby follows the exploits of the wealthy businessmen of 1920s New York. Nick Carraway (Maguire) recounts the summer he spent in West Egg. He buys a small house next to Gatsby’s (di Caprio) palatial mansion, only to catch mere glimpses of the man himself. Only after a dinner with his cousin Daisy Buchanan (Mulligan) and her husband Tom (Edgerton), does Carraway get an invite to one of the lavish parties Gatsby holds each weekend.
What else would we expect from Luhrmann other than spectacle? The extravagant party scenes, full of glitz, glamour and glorious music are well worth seeing on the big screen. The 20s fashion – extra sparkly flapper dresses to dapper suits with boater hats – and Art Deco design are beautiful and are bound to be launched back into the forefront of design.
Tobey Maguire is at the top of his game in this film, with him seemingly launching himself into the character of Carraway. There’s no surprise that di Caprio is wonderful as Gatsby, transitioning beautifully from multi-millionaire playboy to love-sick school boy.
 
As for the soundtrack, one of the best film soundtracks that I’ve ever heard. Produced by Jay-Z and featuring the likes of Beyonce, Lana Del Ray and Florence and the Machine, it was guaranteed to be brilliant. The mix of modern music in the 20s setting fits perfectly, remixing contemporary hip-hop and classical jazz.
Sadly, Luhrmann’s extravagance doesn’t make up for the lacking storyline. Towards the end, the story seems to diminish. As the focus shifts from the wealth to the love story, it starts to drag. What should be an exciting last few scenes becomes very dull, with the wrong people suffering the consequences – but I suppose that’s what the novel does.
It’s worth taking a look in the cinema, if only for sheer spectacle and wonderment the film creates.

 

Please remember that with all 3D releases, I opt to see them in 2D where possible.

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