The Great Gatsby
Out Now On-Demand
Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!) adapts F. Scott Fitzgerald’s romantic masterpiece set in New York in the spring of 1922 - an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz and bootleg kings. Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Isla Fisher and Joel Edgerton. Winner of the 2014 Academy Awards for Best Costume and Production Design.
Would-be writer Nick Carraway (Maguire) leaves the Midwest for New York, chasing his own American Dream. He lands next door to mysterious, party-giving millionaire Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio), and across the bay from his cousin Daisy (Mulligan) and her philandering, blue-blooded husband Tom (Edgerton). Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super-rich and, from within, pens a tale of love, ambition and tragedy.
Best Production Design and Costume Design at the Academy Awards and BAFTAs 2014
Rating: M Violence & sex scenes
Like an ever-so-slightly more literary Transformers sequel, Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby is a sense-shattering storm of lush imagery, beautiful people and other aesthetic wonders. It’s the modern blockbuster as classic book adaptation. I had a ball watching it, but the impact is fleeting and the emotions shallow. Like Transformers.
By replacing giant robots and explosions with luxurious mansions, dazzling costumes and immaculate make-up, The Great Gatsby invites an air of superficial respectability that is perhaps reflected in its lead character - a distortion of the American Dream who built up his fortune with ill-gotten gains.
DiCaprio is well-suited (literally!) to the part – he’s finally starting to leave behind the boyishness that has always threatened his believability as a grown-up. As Jay Gatsby, he cuts a fine figure, but the deeply felt obsession at the heart of his character doesn’t totally shine through.
Tobey Maguire acquits himself with dignity as the audience’s somewhat blank proxy and Carey Mulligan oozes sensuality, almost to the point where I was willing to forgive her character’s transgressions. The most impressive performance in the film is given by Aussie Joel Edgerton, wholly convincing as a rich entitled jerk.
But it’s the filmmaking that is the true star here, and while it never stops calling attention to itself, it’s still a wonder to behold - I haven’t felt this drunk on cinematic beauty since Life of Pi.
New York Times
Time Out New York
Total Film (UK)
A cinematographic feast!
I appreciate that the critics poo poo'd this movie as lacking the drama of the novel. I read the novel and thought the film contained most of the elements and symbolism of the book. The photography was exquisite, and that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The Good Gatsby
Beautifully crafted yet somehow soulless and not a patch on the source material. That said, there's a corking soundtrack, some gorgeously crafted cinematography, costumes, sets and scenes.
Worthy more than worthwhile, interesting more than entertaining and dazzling rather than dramatic. Still, good to see Leo stretching his acting chops. With this and his role in Tarantino's 'Django', he's delving into some more complex and not altogether heroic characters. Here's looking forward to 'The Wolf of Wall Street.' As for Baz Luhrmann's direction? Thankfully, he's leaning here a lot more towards 'Moulin Rouge' abd 'Romeo + Juliet' than the horrible 'Australia.'
'Gatsby' may not be great - but hats off to Baz for trying and producing this dazzling spectacle that never fails to engage. Looks good in 3D too.
I felt like I expected so much more from this movie and just didn't quite live up to it! The soundtrack was fantastic and it was worth seeing, I just still left feeling a little bit disappointed...
Fantastic Direction and Fantastic Production Design Movie
This was a fantastic movie and great production design and the amazing colours in the film were amazing. Tobey Maguire acting was brilliant he deserves to be nominated for an Oscar and the rest of the cast were awesome as well Leo Di Caprio has always been fantastic since Titanic. 5 stars
Well that was unexpected
I can't remember the last time a film took me by surprise quite as much as Baz Luhrmann's lavish, lascivious adaptation of The Great Gatsby. If you've seen the marketing for the film you might think (as I did) that you know what to expect, but beyond all the glitz and spectacle, Luhrmann and his fantastic cast offer a faithful, enveloping and timely take on the greatest novel of the twentieth century.
Luhrmann's unique vision of Gatsby that gets off to such a rocky start that it's tempting to write the film off. This is the film we saw in the trailers, where it feels like the director is retreating back to the past success of Moulin Rouge, tragically taking a treasured classic with him. Snatches of story are doled out amidst the chaos of the decadent backdrop, an attempt to disorient us alongside Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) that just doesn't succeed. However just as it reaches insufferable limits, Luhrmann reigns in his most self-indulgent whims and lets F. Scott Fitzgerald take over.
Having a top-notch cast inhabit these iconic roles really brings out the power of the story, and Leonardo DiCaprio and Joel Edgerton in particular shine through Luhrmann's bluster when he lets them, as he thankfully does for the second half of Gatsby. DiCaprio expertly juggles both sides of Jay Gatsby, transforming his enigmatic traits into insecurity and warped ambition, and Edgerton captures the brash entitlement of the vile Tom Buchanan wonderfully.
Luhrmann has never been known for his restraint, yet beyond the difficult opening act he manages to engage through story not style, even saving a stinging indictment of modern excess that hovers just out of reach right until the closing moments. Like the titular character himself, there's much more to Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby below the surface.
Give it a miss! Lurhmann certainly did.
Seeing this movie was a big mistake on our part! How appropriate then to steal this quote from a professional reviewer: "Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby is a failure that should have at least been a magnificent mistake." Sadly, it is not.
I have never read the novel (nor do I want to) and haven't seen the 1974 movie version of this story, but it certainly had its strange side. The movie was contrived on the basis that the narrator was in psychiatric care and had been encouraged to write his story about Gatsby down as some sort of therapy. As he seemed to be the only sane one throughout, it's hard to imagine how he had a breakdown as a result. The characters are not the sort of people you can sympathise with and we didn't think too highly of the casting. Not much to say about the plot as I gather it sticks reasonably closely to the novel -- apart from the breakdown of the narrator referred to above.
There were only 4 of us present - 2 stars from the lads, 3 from Bernadette who has actually read the novel and seen the 1974 version. Verdict - to be avoided.
A Flawed But Otherwise Faithful Adaptation
Given Baz Luhrmann's zest for cinema spectacle, his gaudy visual sensibilities fit the The Great Gatsby period of excess and decadence. Luhrmann's adaptation follows many that have come before it which kinda limits its appeal. However, like any film adaptations of famous literary works, its the director and the actors that command the audience.
DiCaprio gives it his all as the mysterious Jay Gatsby, a man whose financial gains are merely a product of the time. Gatsby's unbreakable hope to become a part of New York's illustrious high society is fuelled by his love for Daisy Buchanan (played ably by Carey Mulligan). This serves as the backbone to the narrative which features many strands of soap opera-esque narrative cliches of secrets, lies and betrayal.
However, in spite of the strong performances of the cast, in particular Joel Edgerton as the brute Tom Buchanan, Daisy's husband, there is a sense of shallowness and disconnection with the characters. Yes, these characters are far from perfect however they are ultimately tragic figures, which prohibits the movie to appease any expectations, providing an exasperated feel rather offering a grand emotional pay off.
Lurhmann and his co-writer Craig Pearce stick close to the source material. However, there's a sense of something missing which is disappointing. Although a visual spectacle and a 21st Century soundtrack which nicely fits in, The Great Gatsby seems to be a missed opportunity.
Doesn't hit the mark
I felt this always threatened to be a lot better. But repetition, some poxy CGI backdrops, and a lack of subtlety means the dots didn't join up for me. But, it's not all bad - Di Caprio is brilliant, and its as stylish and visually energetic as you'd expect from Luhrmann.