Saturday, 1 June 2013

Film Review // Baz Lurhmann's 'The Great Gatsby'

Jay Gatsby: "I knew it was a mistake for a man like me to fall in love..."

I have been so excited for this film! I know not everyone does, but I absolutely love Baz Luhrmann's version of Romeo & Juliet; how stylized it looks, the eccentricity of the camera angles and just the romance of the storytelling makes it one of my favourite films. When I heard he was taking on Gatsby, I was really looking forward to how he would interpret it.

I actually saw this film around 2 weeks ago, but have left writing the review till now just because..I wasn't really sure what to say! 

First things first, The Great Gatsby looks amaaazing. I'll admit I saw it in 2D, so I can't speak for how it uses the third dimension but it was still beautiful, full of colour and decadence, visually showing the wealth and gluttony of the lives of the characters perfectly. The costumes are incredible and the party scenes are extraordinary, with every piece of the screen exuding life and glamour. It is quite in-your-face though, and kind of got a little bit much to be honest, because the film moves along so quick it is quite difficult to keep up! Despite that, weirdly, it feels long. Really long. Nearly 2 and a half hours!

I think the reason it feels so long is because there's a lack of actual storyline... for a start, it takes forever to actually meet Gatsby (though admittedly, when you do, there is literal fireworks) and there seems to be no cohesion between the scenes at the house and parties in between. This gets better as the film progresses, particularly after Gatsby and Daisy's affair is revealed to Tom Buchanan in a brilliant scene full of tension. Up until then, it kinda feels like nothing much is happening, making the audience impatient. This could maybe be down to the novel? I do own the book and have tried to read it several times, but it just never grabs me at the beginning so I haven't managed to finish it! Also, considering it is a love story, the really moving romantic moments that you want to see between Gatsby and Daisy are few and far between.

Without doubt, the best thing in The Great Gatsby is the man himself, played by Leonardo Dicaprio. He plays the legendary character with such subtlety and control, it really is brilliant to watch. You believe that his life of luxury has all been to impress the love of his life, and that he will never give up hope of getting her back. Leo can do no wrong for me anyway, but he really is the highlight of the film. Though, if I never hear the phrase 'old sport' again, it will be too soon. Seriously.

The other legendary character is that of Daisy Buchanan, played by Carey Mulligan. Don't get me wrong, she looks stunning, but I just wasn't convinced by her. She didn't seem worthy of Gatsby, which, again, could be all to do with the character, because Carey did play her part well. Her husband, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton) is also thoroughly one-dimensional, and Tobey Maguire is good as always, but just seems to be standing around watching everyone else.

There has been a lot of hype about the soundtrack, which does have a lot of my favourite artists including Florence Welch and Lana del Rey, but...I didn't love it. At times, particularly in the party scenes, it was really great and added to the atmosphere, but at others, it was jarring to what was on screen and just didn't seem to flow. This may just be me, but there you go.

Overall, I was a bit let down by The Great Gatsby, but that could have been a result of me building it up too much before seeing it! True to Tobey Maguire's voiceover, the only person you really like by the end of it is Gatsby himself.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Definitely a case of style over substance!

Have you seen The Great Gatsby?

Thanks for reading!


1 comment:

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