BY HEATHER BARR
While it may be difficult to recreate novels into film, Director Baz Luhrmann’s does an elaborate and impressive job with his adaption of “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, an American classic. Luhrmann’s artistic style is unique and “The Great Gatsby” is similar to previous movies he has directed such as “Moulin Rouge” and the 1996 version of “Romeo + Juliet.” The party scenes are extravagant and the soundtrack, although not entirely appropriate for the 1920s setting, is fantastic. With an endless flow of liquor, beautiful clothing and grand light shows, Gatsby’s parties in the movie replicate the images depicted in the novel.
Some details of the movie are questionable, such as placing narrator Nick Carraway (Tobey McGuire) in a sanitarium but it does not take away from the tale of Jay Gatsby. Perhaps the most notable part of the whole movie is the cast. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Gatsby wonderfully and viewers sense the emotions Gatsby is feeling behind his eyes and hidden by his composure. When Gatsby is with Daisy (Carey Mulligan) their chemistry is undeniable and Gatsby’s longing for her is clear. DiCaprio depicts a man who is living his own fantasy and meticulously creating this world for the one he loves. Mulligan stays true to the novel’s description of Daisy.
The party scenes are fun but it’s the more serious areas of the movie where the plot unfolds. One of the most climactic scenes in the movie involves an intense dispute between Gatsby and Daisy’s husband, Tom (Joel Edgerton). Edgerton plays his role well as a brute man who appears to only care for his own affairs and not for the lives of others such as his mistress (Isla Fisher).
The movie is 144 minutes and this is after Luhrmann cut some details of the novel out. There are only intermittent allusions of one of the novel’s most predominant themes, old money verses new money, and Carraway’s romantic relationship with Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki) is left out, to name a few omissions.
If you are basing your opinion of this movie on whether it accurately replicates the novel and time period, then it is obviously going to fall short. Opt out of seeing it in 3-D if you can because serious movies such as “The Great Gatsby” gain nothing from this stylistic technique. This movie is worth seeing though, not only for the classic tale worthy of being included in many high school canons across the country, but also for the cast, set design, costume design and music.
Three and a Half “Barrs”