Monday, January 13, 2014

The Great Gatsby (Baz Luhrmann, 2013) Review

First impressions are important in order to grab the audiences attention and engage them into your film. I'm not sure if anyone told Baz Luhrmann this as, after the very first scene, we are trusted into something I was not expecting with a film set in the 20s...modern music. With this scary fact out of the way, let's take a look at the modern interpretation of The Great Gatsby...I've already reviewed the Robert Redford one so go find that if you wish.

Midwesterner Nick Carrarway (Tobey Macguire), after having just move house, discovers that his neighbour is a famous yet elusive man known as Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is known for throwing gigantic parties for no particular reason. Nick receives a formal invitation from Gatsby and the two quickly become friends. Things develop when Gatsby's rediscovers his old love, Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), and Nick tries to get the two together again.

Like I said...modern music. This isn't just a bad point, it cripples the film a bit. You don't walk into a film that claims to adapt a literary classic and expect club music that only a small portion of the audience would actually enjoy. Whoever said "let's get Jay Z to do the music" was an idiot. I guess I understand what they were saying (their parties and the equivalent of our clubs) but it was never needed to be established (although, saying this, I did like 'Heart's A Mess' by Gotye but at least that's on the credits).

One thing I didn't like about the original was that, while Robert Redford was good, the rest of the cast wasn't that memorable. This isn't the problem with this one. Tobey Maguire proves himself as a serious actor quite well alongside a very chipper Leonardo DiCaprio who continues his strong, Oscar-less career. Also good are Carey Mulligan as Daisy, giving an improved version of Mia Farrow's role, and Joel Edgerton as Daisy's husband Tom who hams it up immensely. What the film does have going for it though is the look. Whiel it does overuse the CGI (they couldn't find a real house? Really?), it looks really nice with a grand look.

The Great Gatsby...isn't great as the title would have you believe but it isn't a failure either. It's biggest faults lie in the use of modern music and an overuse of CGI but it makes up for these issues with a strong cast and a great look. Not the worst film of 2013 but I have seen far better...I'm sure we'll get a truly great adaptation of this story some day, but this isn't it.

With a poorly chosen soundtrack and an overuse of CGI, The Great Gatsby suffers from weird design decisions.

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