June 3, 2013
Director: Baz Lurhmann
Screenwriter: Baz Lurhmann
Ruling: ★★★ 1/2
Are you ready for the party of the century?
“You can’t repeat the past.”
— Nick Carraway
“Can’t repeat the past? Why, of course you can!”
— Jay Gatsby
I should probably go on record by saying that, though I enjoy the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel that this film is based on, it doesn't move me like it seems to move some people I know. I also didn't study it in school, which I feel may have clouded some of my other peers. That being sad, this movie was good.
I can't go so far to call it extraordinary, or mind-blowing, or even excellent. I wish it were, truly I do. Though it hit plenty of notes hard, the film just didn't cut it for me.
First let's talk about some things that missed the mark:
Carey Mulligan. Honestly, I thought she was mis-cast. The movie was 50% her gasping. Then again, I guess you're not really supposed to like Daisy so maybe Lurhmann got it right. I found her incredibly trying.
The continuity editing was really flawed. This is a technical thing for me, but it really bothered me when in reaction shots, the lips of the actor speaking didn't match the words. Drives me nuts.
Lack of connection. Again, this may have been intentional on Lurhamann's part, and of course, in the novel, no character is particularly beloved (maybe save Nick), but I felt it hard to really care about any of the characters. Even Gatsby when he re-kindles his affair with Daisy left me devoid of any real emotion.
But let's cheer up and end this on the things that I loved:
The cinematography. Lurhmann was in fine form in this film, pulling out all the stops to make this his most glamorous film yet.
The clothes. Dear God, the clothes. The wardrobe in this film was beyond stunning. That's really all I have to say about that.
The parties. What good would a movie about Jay Gatsby be without his lavish get-togethers? Extravagance would be putting it lightly; the parties were unreal.
The music. I actually really enjoyed the soundtrack, and anyone who's ever seen a Baz Lurhmann movie knows that he likes to mix old and new, so I was a bit shocked to hear how upset some people were by it. I thought it fit the style and the essence of the film to a tee.
The 3D. If you didn't see this movie in 3D, you made a terrible mistake. This was probably some of the best 3D I've ever seen, it got the depth of field perfect.
Gatsby. This really was the meat and potatoes of the movie. Leonardo Di Caprio is the best he's ever been showcasing a wide range of emotions from disengaged billionaire to heartbroken boy. His acting chops improve with each movie he takes on and God love him for it.
inal Tally: Though the film could have benefitted from some emotional depth, it more than made up for it visually, giving us the perfect metaphor: in the world of Gatsby, no one bothers scratching beneath the surface.
I give this film 3.5/5 stars.