Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire
Directed by: Baz Luhrmann
Written By: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 2 hr 23 min
The Great Gatsby reminded me a lot of another Baz Luhrmann film, Moulin Rouge from 2001. Both films are visually striking kinetic slick combinations of period setting and modern music, and both required you buy into the central romance fueling the drama in the story. In my opinion, Moulin Rouge does this perfectly. Gatsby, not so much.
I think the problems with Gatsby start by having the story narrated to us by Nick Carraway (Toby Maquire). I have never been a big fan of voice-over dialogue, especially when it drones on throughout the entire film explaining things I can clearly see and comprehend. To me, it’s either lazy film making, or Baz Luhrmann and his team didn’t respect the audience’s intelligence.
The love story at the center of this tale isn’t all that convincing either. Leonardo DiCaprio does the best he can with the material, but all the visual flare gets in the way of the story. I also didn’t find any of the central characters especially likeable either, so it became an overly long 143 minutes of my life waiting for a conclusion I no longer cared about.
If you’ve enjoyed other Baz Luhrmann movies, you’ll probably get something out of this. It all depends on how you respond to the love story at the heart of this picture. In any case, love it or hate it, you can still appreciate the cinematography.
Due the how the film looks, I would suggest a digital matinee. At home a HD viewing for sure on your TV. The visual clout of this movie will be softened by watching it on anything portable.
The party scenes during the first half of the film looked and sounded great.