Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Great Gatsby

       Director Baz Lurmann brings his over the top creativity to the forefront in this new version of "The Great Gatsby". It is more style than substance... but oh what style.

        Leonardo DiCaprio and Cary Mulligan star as the lovelorn Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. For Mr. Lurmann's vision, they are perfectly cast. Mr. DiCaprio inhabits the role with snap and polish and a glimmer of danger. Ms. Mulligan brings a luminescence and vulnerability to Daisy. Through Mr. Lurmann's lens, every scene they are in together elevates their very presence.

 Co-starring in this lavish production is Toby Maguire as Nick Carraway and Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan. Mr. Maguire is miscast as Nick. His goofy grin and wide eyed response to everything going on around him becomes increasingly annoying as the film goes on. His purpose as narrator would have been better served had he stayed off camera throughout. Mr Edgerton, on the other hand, is well cast as Tom and brings a strong and menacing aura to the role. Isla Fisher and Jason Clarke have the small but pivotal roles as Myrtle and George Wilson. 

 The fashions, party scenes, and every excess of the period is heightened and unfortunately, lost in this vision is the story. Every nuance of the novel that has been dissected and examined in English classes through the years is lost in the visual excess.

 As with all of Mr. Lurmann's films, you will be swept away by his visual style, strengthened by the chemistry between Mr. DiCaprio and Ms. Mulligan. But to understand what makes this a story for the ages, read the novel.

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