|Review: The Great Gatsby|
|A good movie, even if it is not as good as Baz Luhrmann's previous efforts|
I very seldom watch a movie more than once. There are just so much fantastic stuff out there, so whenever I watch something a second time I can wonder which fantastic gem I’m missing by just sticking with something familiar. But some masterpieces simply have to be watched at least two times. Moulin Rouge by Baz Luhrmann is one of those masterpieces. I watched it first by myself and then I took my future wife to watch it and then I bought the soundtrack and listened to it over and over again. Now when I think of it, Moulin Rouge could very much be the reason why we had “Your Song” at our wedding song! Baz also captivated me with his version of Romeo and Juliet. It was both lavish and gritty at the same time, making it irresistible. With Moulin Rouge he then went into psychotic overdrive with the lavish part and it was an absolute pleasure!
But this post isn’t mainly about those two movies. It’s about Mr. Luhrmann’s latest blockbuster, The Great Gatsby. I really looked forward to watching this, due to the pure awesomeness of the director. My only memory of the novel is (to my great shame) from The Man on the Moon. Andy Kaufman (played by Jim Carrey) reads The Great Gatsby in its entirety to punish his audience. He’s being stiff and pompous on purpose and people start to leave and fall asleep. This has left me to think of it as a boring classic not worthy of my time. But was I correct in my assumption? A little, but not quite. It takes some time to hit momentum but in the end I liked this mysterious drama. If you want a Baz Luhrmann movie, you will get a Baz Luhrmann movie here. The parties thrown by Gatsby are possibly more lavish than in Moulin Rouge! The Great Gatsby is beautiful movie and very much over the top, mostly for the better.
Unfortunately there are many small elements which leave me disappointed. Like in Moulin Rouge, there is a lot of CG here but I don’t think it works as well. The Great Gatsby is a period drama that maybe doesn’t need all those special effects. It felt like overkill with some of the panorama shots. The JAY Z hip-hop is completely out of place and doesn’t work at all. The rest of the soundtrack is good but not great. The party scenes are awesome but they don’t feel as novel as they did before. It is hard for me to get as immersed and impressed as I was when watching Luhrmann’s earlier work.
Instead, my favourite scene is when Gatsby is going to meet Daisy at Nick’s place. It’s a very funny and charming moment, where Leonardo DiCaprio gets to show his range as an actor. He truly delivers an impressive performance as Jay Gatsby. I can understand if many actors want to play Gatsby, since he’s such an interesting character. Unfortunately the other characters are not nearly as captivating. His neighbour Nick Carraway, played by Tobey Maguire, is very bland and mostly there to tell the story between Gatsby and Daisy (Carey Mulligan). After watching this, I can at least understand why the novel is such a classic. It is a great allegory of the American dream with all its pluses and minuses. Is Gatsby a hopeless romantic, a psycho, a hero, a villain or all of these things?! It’s very much up for us to decide.