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Gatsby goes big but tries too hard: 3.5/5

The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby

It started in the 20’s, a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald who notably exploited the age of jazz. The book was called The Great Gatsby, a saga of commercialism, love, decadence and change.

Here we are in 2013 and director Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!) has reincarnated Fitzgerald’s tale with a promising cast but unnecessary style.


[movies name="The Great Gatsby" website="" opens="May 10, 2013" score="3.5" trailer="" rating="pg" advisories="MATURE THEME;LANGUAGE MAY OFFEND;TOBACCO USE" genre="Drama/Historical" runningtime="142"]

The film opens with Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), an educated World War I veteran suffering from alcoholism who is visiting his psychiatrist. Through the comfort of writing, Carraway tells the story of his former neighbour Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), a shadowy millionaire who threw bizarre and consistent parties. Throughout the story, Nick learns that Gatsby knew his sister, Daisy (Carey Mulligan), from a past romantic encounter, which had left Gatsby broken. From throwing extravagant parties, Gatsby hoped Daisy would one day make an appearance, regardless of being married to Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), a man with his own secrets.

From the excellent choice of actors and ambience of emotion and themes, The Great Gatsby draws us into its fictional world, showing us what its like to live large and think free, though thinking always finds a way through. It centers around and glorifies everything the world visualizes America as, exaggerating yet simplifying it in many ways. The movie explores themes of jealousy, adultery and redemption. The American Dream is deemed impossible without consequences and the past will always leave scars, which are impossible to ignore.

From my experiences with the earlier cinematic takes of The Great Gatsby, I can say that this revitalization is the finest one, however I found it to be more ambitious than it should have been. Though there may have been certain intentions, the 3D format takes away the storytelling in a film like this. The over all visual style just felt out of place and although the exaggeration of the atmosphere may have added artistic value, it just felt cheesy like an ongoing P. Diddy music video.

Like Luhrmann’s films of the past, there is no doubt we would get over the top set pieces and vibrant visuals, but this time they were overshadowed by needless special effects and 3D purposes.

Despite the unnecessary visual style, The Great Gatsby is an engaging and entertaining take on the tale.

Check it out, it might just be the best Gatsby adaptation we get.