The Great Gatsby (3D) (2013)
Cert: 12A / 153 mins / Dir. Baz Luhrmann
Visually, The Great Gatsby is an outstanding work, and it belongs as much to Luhrmann as it does to Fitzgerald. Call me a philistine, but I often found it actually more coherent than the book (although that's probably because it skips along at a fair old pace for the first hour, coving the section of Fitzgerald's novel I had trouble with). The film makes a deliberate (and successful) attempt to veer away from being a historical document, both in fashion in music. The first half-hour in particular is a hypnotic, hyper-real hallucination of a film. It settles down after that, but it never loses that feel of an extended dream-sequence. The production design and soundtrack all add to the eeriness, and if you can buy into the reality, you'll get on well with the film. Even the 3D is nicely used, which makes a pleasant change (along with last week's Star Trek, I could get used to this).
Performance-wise, I'm not sure Carey Mulligan is right for the role of Daisy. She plays the part very well in isolation, but I wasn't convinced of the relationship with DiCaprio's Gatsby, somehow. Meanwhile, Leonardo and Toby are on fine form, and a special nod has to go to Joel Edgerton, for making the misogynistic, racist bastard of Tom Buchanan a sympathetic character, whilst also ensuring he's not remotely likeable.
All in all, Gatsby is a marvellous achievement, and even if you don't like the result, you can't help but admire the craft. It didn't leave me with a great deal afterwards, but I sure as hell enjoyed the ride.
Visually, yes. Thematically, not so much.
It achieves what Baz Luhrmann set out to do…
For best results, cinema. In 3d, as well.
Probably. But probably only once more.
Which page-to-screen adaptations have you been pleasantly surprised with, and which have you actively preferred?
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