The Great Gatsby


Based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald; Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation on the classic book is in his usual ritzy and showy style; which is certainly apt for the lavish setting of the 1920’s lifestyle of the rich and famous. Most famous is the title character Jay Gatsby (Leonardo Dicaprio) renowned for his expansive and expensive parties and for the mystery surrounding his identity and background. Nick Carraway (Toby Maguire) narrates and is quickly drawn into the dramas of his Cousin Daisy (Cary Mulligan) and her unfaithful husband Tom (Joel Edgerton) and is the only person who comes to know Gatsby for who he really is. The film’s script and outlay stays true to Fitzgerald’s work and brings to life the written original. Dicaprio is a surprising choice for Gatsby, but is believable in the role and brings a likability and vulnerability to the character. Maguire narrates well and is a character of reason and sensibility; although at times can come across as deadpan and emotionless; making it hard to distinguish if this is a portrayal of Nick or Maguire’s acting style. Mulligan is standout as Daisy, an over-the-top, wishy washy woman whom one cannot help feel is not deserving of Gatsby’s long-standing love and adoration, nor the tragedy that unfolds as result of her emotional instability. (And it is easy to forget she is a mother as her daughter is rarely seen in her presence).Other actors worthy of mention include Isla Fisher as Mrtyle Wilson and Elizabeth Debicki as the straight-laced golfing champ Jordan Baker.

Luhrumann successfully portrays the rowdy glamour and selfish excessiveness of the era. Costume design is breathtaking; and chorography and direction is in true Luhrmann style ala Moulin Rouge. A must see for lovers of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby or Baz Luhrmann’s work. In my opinion Lurhmann’s take on the classic novel is by far the best book to film representation that has yet to be made.

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