Blu-ray Review The Great Gatsby
Directed by: Baz Luhrmann Cast: Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton Running Time: 2 hrs 23 mins Rating: PG-13 Due Out: August 27, 2013 Own "The Great Gatsby" on Blu-ray Combo Pack and HD Digital Download Now!
PLOT: A bondsman (Maguire) becomes witness to a love triangle involving his cousin (Mulligan), her husband (Edgerton), and the wealthy rich man of mystery (DiCaprio) who lives in a mansion next door. Based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
WHO'S IT FOR? Fans hoping this movie will honor the spirit of the novel should probably not bother; this film adaptation has its own spirit, one highly directed towards viewers who simply want opulence.
The actual story of Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” isn’t all that great. That is a fact of literature; what elevates the novel to its prestige is its vision, its imagination with words. Like a great film, the novel “Great Gatsby” is elevated from rich white people melodrama because of how Fitzgerald creates such imagery with his words, and in a sense, how he directs the images to the reader with his rich melody. Right from its creation, this is a novel with a story that thoroughly depends on its director’s vision.
Like the 2009 adaptation of Watchmen, this version of Great Gatsby doesn’t change the original story all that much, and it honors dialogue directly in moments in which the book seems like it was pasted into the script. For such a narrative, co-writer Luhrmann does well in trimming some of the fat (we don’t miss the extended relationship between Nick and lady friend Jordan), and of keeping this tale lean.
In the midst of slapping on its own sprawls of artistic dominance, Great Gatsby begins to lack subtlety. It shows itself to be a film made by a director who sees a costume party first and foremost, and a movie of rich character drama second or even third. Many elements of Fitzgerald’s Gatsby are now made into parades, their presence boisterous, or even worse, cool. Carraway’s first time getting drunk turns into a Project X rager, and then of course there’s the soundtrack. This adaptation even uses the egregious “Write about it!” narrative framing device, which creates for an overly obvious clue as to why we’re getting so much narration, etc.
Fitzgerald’s writing may have included a lot of description about the lavish environments in his novel, but such details don’t get in the way of his story that serves to be more than a tale of wealth. These choices make an example out of Luhrmann’s take on storytelling, as Great Gatsby can’t get by on its production budget alone.
In this story of fake success, in which men see the illusion of what they really own, Great Gatsby is turned into party porn, with only grandiosity on its mind. Despite showing that eventually the parties did stop, this overindulgent adaptation finds no humbleness itself.
MOVIE SCORE: 5/10
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