The Great Gatsby
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke, Adelaide Clemens, Elizabeth Debicki
Directed by Baz Luhrmann
Run Time: 143 mins
Opens May 10th
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
For those who skipped or missed out in high school English partaking in F. Scott Fitzgerald literary masterpiece, here’s your chance to experience the story in technicolor glory courtesy of Director Baz Luhrmann. Known for his colorful, visually stunning, romantically charged films such as “Romeo & Juliet” , "Australia" and “Moulin Rouge!”, Luhrmann breathes new life in to the Jazz Era classic, giving audience a taste of the Roaring Twenties.
Moving to New York City to become a bonds salesman, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) has a new interesting neighbor. Known as the illustrious, or rather infamous, Gatsby, the man who holds almost nightly, the most lavish, outrageous parties that New York has ever seen.
Nick’s cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) and her husband Tom (Joel Edgerton) live across the water from the Gatsby mansion. Daisy is overjoyed that Nick has moved to town as it is a distraction from her loveless marriage and the opportunity to set him up with her friend Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki). Tom is relieved for Nick’s presence as it is an opportunity to escape from Daisy and to go meet up with his mistress Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher). Like Tom, Myrtle is also stuck in a loveless marriage to her mechanic husband George (Jason Clarke) and is desperate for Tom to sweep her away from poverty and dull life that she currently holds.
One day, an invitation arrives for Nick to attend one of Gatsby’s parties, where he finally meets the mysterious Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). It appears that Gatsby has an ulterior motive, than just being a friendly neighbor trying to get to know each other. Gatsby has a complicated past, one that includes Daisy, wanting to rekindle an old flame. Will Gatsby be able to win over Daisy or will Nick end up as a casualty in the twisted game between the rich and famous of New York’s elite class?
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Baz Luhrmann for creating a visual masterpiece from an aging work of literary royalty. This is how page to screen projects should be done. Everything visual about the film is outstanding – the lighting, sets, costumes and visual effects all are a occular treat. The performances are better than previous versions of the film, but the factor that ties it all together is the music mashups of old standards with modern pop mixes make this so interesting. The story itself it long and drawn out, but if this was available to watch during my high school tenure, I think it would have made it way more alluring.
How does this compare to the 1974 version starring Robert Redford & Mia Farrow? Blows the top off anything that the film could have ever done (Sorry Francis Ford Coppola). Carey Mulligan’s Daisy had more depth than Farrow’s version of the literary socialite opportunist as did DiCaprio’s Gatsby. The 1974 version feels flat while Baz Luhrmann’s is vibrant, in-your-face visual effects with a lot of pizzazz. Be sure to catch “The Great Gatsby” when it opens in theaters nationwide starting Friday May 10, 2013.