Baz Lurhmann’s latest offering, The Great Gatsby, is his first since the atrocious 2008 “Australia”.
It’s appears to be a tricky proposition bringing Fitzgerald’s cautionary tale of the American Dream off the page and onto the silver screen. Previous efforts, including the 1974 version with Robert Redford, have failed to do the source material justice.
With Baz at the helm, we were never going to get a subtle version of this Great American novel. What we do get is everything dialed up to 11, with Gatsby’s mansion rivaling Disney World, outlandish cars, a contemporary urban soundtrack and larger than life performances from most of the cast. Some of it works, the hip hop soundtrack for example, that draw a parallel between the excess of the 1930’s, and the bling culture of today, but most of it falls a bit flat.
Dicaprio is good as the eponymous Gatsby, desperate to hold his own with the super rich, and Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton put in good support.
Ulimately though, there is little at the heart of the film, and none of the charachters are sympathetic, especially Daisy, who is duplicitous, in-decisive and shallow – it’s pretty hard to see why Gatsby goes to such lengths to win her heart.
Overall, an enjoyable but lightweight movie, and after leaving the movie hall, you are left with the memory of the spectacle, and not the story beneath it