And the award for “Most Pointless Use of 3D” in 2013 goes to “The Great Gatsby”! I’m sorry that’s a terrible way to begin a review but I had to get it out of my system. Even though it is the fifth adaptation of the classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, this was my first exposure to the story. As such, I walked into the movie with a blank canvas of expectations.
The film is narrated by Nick Carraway, a damaged young man suffering from depression and alcoholism, as he recounts an experience he had during the 19-roaring-20’s. Carraway’s tale is mostly about his friend Jay Gatsby, a man he describes as being the most hopeful person he ever knew. Gatsby begins as a mysterious and powerful figure who is constantly throwing ludicrously extravagant parties at his mansion, but over time he is revealed to be a man with a single hope that borders on obsession. The focus of his attentions is Carraway’s cousin, Daisy Buchanan, a unhappily married woman who seems drawn to the “better” things in life. Her husband is a man who inherited his riches and who is keeping a mistress on the side. Over their summer together, Carraway finds himself walking a line of being involved in the tangled lives of this group yet remaining an outsider who looks at it through a window.
The latest adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” is directed by Baz Luhrmann, who brings with him an over-the-top visual flair. (Although his style seems more contained and less frantic than his past work like “Moulin Rouge!”) The cast is comprised of Tobey Maguire, playing Nick Carraway with his usual dry readings. Carey Mulligan brings a sense of quiet sadness to the role of Daisy Buchanan, while Joel Edgerton plays her thoroughly unlikeable cheating husband. Really the stand out performance in the movie is the role of Gatsby, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. While DiCaprio is certainly the best in the cast and plays Gatsby well, his performance in the film is far from being one of his most memorable parts.
Walking out of “The Great Gatsby”, I thought it was a good film but simply didn’t stand out as a great one. Although it has given me the desire to read the novel and maybe one of the other adaptations for comparison. I wouldn’t recommend this as a must-see movie for theaters but it’s well worth your time as a rental. Just avoid the 3D, it didn’t take away any enjoyment from the movie but it didn’t add any either.
[editor’s note: is that the REAL fucking trailer music? Goddamn… ugh]