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The Great Gatsby

By MATTHEW KORFHAGE
Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby begins, appropriately enough, with decoration—a gold-filigreed frame that accordions outward in 3-D before suddenly cutting to a swimmy shot of some water, under a voice-over that dopily bastardizes the book’s opening lines. Then, yet another framing device. Turns out Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), the always-just-outside-the-action narrator of Gatsby, is telling the entire story of the movie to his psychologist. Well, it’s always good to let the crowd know what they’re in for: a little bit of pretty, a little bit of confusion, a whole lot of stupid. Luhrmann’s 1920s New York is a phantasmagoric spectacle, and the script lobotomizes the novel’s dialogue into amazing subcamp clunkers. But while Luhrmann’s Gatsby is a far cry from the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, it is in its own way quite affecting: Badly married silver-spooner Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) and besmirched tycoon Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) have been cast here not as cautionary tales, but as star-crossed lovers. DiCaprio plays the kid from Titanic grown up into a clueless Howard Hughes. Daisy’s a nice girl, too, though almost too sympathetic in Mulligan’s capable hands for her callow decisions to make sense. The movie’s a high-drama, high-saturation emotional spectacle. And though it’s often effective in roping the viewer in, it has all the subtlety of a young drunk who’s just been left by his girlfriend. The contemporary soundtrack, despite a lot of knee-jerk criticism, isn’t overly distracting. The novel, for all the Jazz Age frenzy it depicts, plays a much softer music—and it is this music one recalls when thinking back on the book, the sadness and the subtle sense of doom contained in every misbegotten line uttered by its characters. Funny that in such a musical film, this music is the one thing Luhrmann couldn’t hear.
 
  • Genres: Drama
  • Release Date: Friday, May 10, 2013
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13 [ Brief Language, Partying, Sexual Content, Smoking, Some Violent Images ]
  • Critic's Score: C
  • Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio [Jay Gatsby], Tobey Maguire [Nick Carraway], Carey Mulligan [Daisy Buchanan], Joel Edgerton [Tom Buchanan], Isla Fisher [Myrtle Wilson], Jason Clarke [George Wilson], Amitabh Bachchan [Meyer Wolfshiem], Elizabeth Debicki [Jordan Baker], Adelaide Clemens [Catherine], Vince Colosimo [Michaelis], Richard Carter [Herzog], Max Cullen [Owl Eyes], Steve Bisley [Dan Cody], David Furlong [Walter Chase], Callan McAuliffe [Teenage Jay Gatsby], Felix Williamson [Henri]
  • Directed by: Baz Luhrmann [Director], Baz Luhrmann [Screenwriter], Craig Pearce [Screenwriter], Baz Luhrmann [Producer], Catherine Martin [Producer], Douglas Wick [Producer], Lucy Fisher [Producer], Catherine Knapman [Producer], Barrie Osborne [Executive Producer], Bruce Berman [Executive Producer], Shawn Carter [Executive Producer], Simon Duggan [Cinematographer], Catherine Martin [Production Design], Catherine Martin [Costume Designer], Matt Villa [Film Editor], Jason Ballantine [Film Editor], Jonathan Redmond [Film Editor], Craig Armstrong [Original Music], Ronna Kress [Casting], Nikki Barrett [Casting], Beverley Dunn [Set Decoration], Ian Gracie [Supervising Art Direction], Damien Drew [Art Director], Michael Turner [Art Director]
  • Visit the Movie Website | Watch the trailer
 

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